©Cover Illustration by Jennifer Abadi
While doing my spring/Passover cleaning, I came across this women’s haggadah that I had once illustrated for Ma’yan, the Jewish Women’s Program at the JCC. In the mid ’90s, Ma’yan held their first annual feminist Passover Seder in New York City, which became a tradition that continued for many years. Since then feminist Seders have been held throughout the United States to call attention to the roles that Jewish women have played in our history, as well as to encourage female leadership in the future. In honor of Women’s History Month, commemorate Miriam — the sister of Moses — who helped the Israelite women while fleeing Egypt. Take a moment to reflect upon strong and positive female role models who strive to make a positive impact on women in modern society. As we approach the Passover holiday, think about what you can add to your Seder ceremony to make the Passover experience more meaningful and inclusive.
In reading Chaim Raphael’s book, A FEAST OF HISTORY: The drama of Passover through the ages, I came across the following description of the Seder ceremony, which I think sums up its role as a common (yet important) Jewish experience:
“The Seder has a unique quality, however, in that it is a ceremony which brings together — and always has throughout history — all kinds of people of Jewish origin, no matter what weight they normally attach to this in terms of belief, practice, political philosophy, social interests or family loyalties. Among our profusion of skeptical Jews … there are not many who will refuse to attend the Seder ‘on principle’ — as they might other Jewish observances. On the surface, nothing is committed by attendance.”
— Chaim Raphael
(Excerpted from: A FEAST OF HISTORY: The drama of Passover through the ages (with a new translation of the Haggadah for use at the Seder). Steimatzky’s Agency, Ltd. together with Weidenfeld Nicolson, London, 1972, pages 17-18.)
Have a good Seder everyone!