Saturday, 16 April 2016

The Wicked Son's guide to Passover

My new post for Passover is just published at Writing from the Edge

Celebrating Passover can be tricky for us awkward Jews.

Liberation and freedom have become the 'Passover Problematic' for the in-house critics of Judaism in the 21st century.

I'm thinking of Jews like me (growing in number each year) who insist that Zionism as the route to Jewish self-determination has turned out to be a bitter disappointment.

Jews like me who think our movement of political nationalism has created nothing but salt water because it comes at the expense of another people's freedom.

Jews like me who think our synagogue ethics are as thin as a piece of matzoh because they insist that supporting all things Israel is a sacred duty.

Each year our liturgy calls us to welcome 'the stranger' to join our feast because all must enjoy this festival of freedom. Towards the end of the evening, we wait expectantly for the prophet Elijah, hoping his arrival will herald messianic times with justice and peace for all. We even pour him a goblet of wine.

But there's no space at the table for the elephant in the room.

It's an elephant draped in a giant black and white kaffiyeh, who rightly mocks our piety and our celebrations. It's the same elephant that's been turning up at our Yom Kippur services, our annual day of atonement, for decades but finds himself just too big to squeeze through the Shul doors.

So what's to be done?

Let me introduce to you the Wicked Son of Seder night tradition. He has a radical solution to the awkward Jews' Passover dilemma.