Passover, matzah, dialectics.
Meeting Thandeka again

Pre-Passover roundup

The closer we get to tomorrow night's seder, the more there is to do and the busier the hours seem! So in lieu of a substantive or creative post from me today, here are pointers to a handful of other people's smart thoughts about Passover. First, one from Radical Torah:

The increased conservativism of the Jewish community has coincided, not surprisingly, with the almost complete integration of Jews into mainstream American society. While we continue to speak of ourselves as a minority, virtually all barriers to our absorption into mainstream American life have disappeared... What are we to make of this disconnect between the stories we tell about ourselves and our current place in American society?

That's from L'harot et atzmo by Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a post about the commandment to see ourselves as though we personally had been liberated from Mitzrayim, and what actions are implied by that injunction.

Here's another good one, courtesy of jspot:

It is telling that we are to remember the time when we were victims. It is a very common response to distance oneself from someone we perceive as victim. Cancer patients, victims of a violent crime, or people with a disability attest how others, even close friends, distance themselves. It is as if identifying with them reminds us of our own vulnerability, and would cut through the denial of, “This won’t happen to me.” Actively trying to remember a time of our own -- personal or collective -- victimization is a means of opening our heart and creating the possibility of loving the stranger.

That's from Love the Stranger by Rabbi Mordechai J. Liebling, a post about the injunction to use our memories of slavery productively. Remembering our own victimhood, he argues, can lead to a kind of insular "look how I've suffered" mentality -- or it can help us cultivate genuine compassion for the strangers, the "Others," we encounter every day.

The post I made about my haggadah has long since scrolled off the bottom of the page, so if you're looking for a poetic and progressive haggadah for your Passover seder, here's one last link to The Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach. I wish you a joyous celebration of the Festival of Freedom, if you celebrate it; may Passover be sweet and meaningful for us all!

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