Home > free hetherington, judaism, peace, Pesach, spirituality > Hosting an anti oppression Seder – what does it mean to us?

Hosting an anti oppression Seder – what does it mean to us?

Interfaith Anti-Oppression Passover Seder

Friday 22nd April.  8pm.  The Free Hetherington, 13 University Gardens.

Facebook event

Reclaim a Jewish ritual meal.

Readings and discussion on themes of oppression, slavery and liberation.

All welcome, from all religions and none. The food will be Kosher for Passover, vegan and Halal.

One table will be alcohol free. If you can afford it, please bring a bottle of (preferably red) wine or grape juice, as you prefer.

Reclaim by who/from who?

This event has been organized by a small number of Jews who want to have a seder that reflects what we believe seders should be – that is discussion on slavery, oppression and liberation.

I will now speak personally rather than put words into the other organizers mouths, though I don’t think any would disagree with what follows.

I feel that a lot of Jewish traditions, especially this one, have been made into a celebration of Zionism and rather than being genuinely about provoking questions and discussion, are instead about suppressing dissent and promoting a false hegemony that to be Jewish means to have right-wing and nationalistic politics.

I feel pushed from the Jewish community and collective observance as I do not subscribe to these politics.  Some of us have been directly excluded – oneGlasgowbased Rabbi last year condemned one of my friends for “bringing politics to the Seder table” after my friend responded to some anti Palestinian comments of another guest.  I’ve sat at another seder table and in response to reflecting that it was good that we discard wine for each plague in order to not take pleasure in another’s suffering, been told that that didn’t apply any more.  The Rabbi present at that table appeared to endorse that view.  These are just examples and I could have brought up many more that I have been subject to, witnessed or been told about over the years.

In response to this seizure of our tradition by the right-wing we are holding a public seder which will be truly open, questioning and discursive.  I believe that this really does reclaim the tradition that was passed down to us by our ancestors.

As we do not yet have the resources to have our own building, we are holding this first one in the Free Hetherington.  Due to the politics of the space, which we respect, it will not be an Orthodox seder.  We will try to use as many elements from a traditional seder as we can but respect that there are those who have put their personal time and energy into maintaining the occupation and are strongly anti religious and anti theist.  Therefore on Friday we will use a special Haggadah that does not have theist elements.  For this reason this Seder is on none of the nights that a religious Jew would be obliged to attend an Orthodox one.

 Passover meal is meant to be spent talking about what happened inEgypt: the whole point of Seder is to ‘tell the story’ to anyone joining the table. Hope u do this tradition justice!

Yes, we wil most certainly do this tradition justice.  And we hope that by doing it in the way that we have stated, we will open up the tradition to many Jews and others who would otherwise feel unable to participate.

Isn’t this the celebration of the brutalisation and cold blooded murder of tens of thousands of Egyptians?

A large part of the Seder ritual is to provoke questions and discussion.  There are also set parts where we consciously act to explicitly not take pleasure from the Egyptian’s suffering – we spill wine from our glass for each of the ten plagues.  It is not an easy, morally unambiguous story and this is why it is important and valuable to tell it and retell it, because each time results much discussion and learning.

Hiya am i wee bit confused at this, so you are reclaiming this ritual meaning you are Jewish or is it in fact that you are middle class champagne socialist nuggets who are trying to be ironic by celebrating a Jewish holiday where they were themselves victims of oppression? Plus i am not a minority so can i expect food that normal ppl eat or will it be foreign multicultural nonsense rammed down my throat all night?

Yes, those of us organizing it are Jewish.  However we decided to have an open event so folks of all religions and none are welcome.  Having said that the space we choose to hold it in – the Free Hetherington – does have a safer spaces policy and anyone who contravenes that will be asked to leave.  This policy is displayed in the foyer of the building.

No we are not being ironic.

We will be drinking red wine and/or grape juice, not champagne.  Our social classes are varied and don’t seem relevant.

Yes, many of us are Socialists.

The food will be kosher for Passover and vegan.  You are under no obligation to come, nor to eat the food that we are making.  You are welcome to invite us to an event you are hosting where you can serve whatever food you like, but we will be serving vegan and Kosher for Passover (and therefore Hallal) food at our event.

Interfaith Anti oppression Passover Seder

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