Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Among those at this table on Monday night, only my husband and I were not immigrants. We trace ourselves to immigrants—in my case, recently enough that I knew some of those who immigrated—but Brad and I alone, at our Seder table, were born in the US.
We all deeply appreciated learning of many cultural traditions related to Passover, sharing hopes for the future and hearing moving personal stories about the importance of the freedom that this festival represents. Among us were those born Jewish, converted, in the process of conversion, and Christian from a majority Muslim country.
It was a beautiful evening, so we had the windows and the front door open. Anyone passing by could have seen and heard what was happening in our dining room. How fortunate we all are to live in a place and time where that brought no fear. But as things are progressing, how long will those we hosted be able to throw windows and doors open with such ease?
One of our guests relayed that, in her country’s Jewish community, the Seder involves not merely telling the story but reenacting it. They roast a lamb and burn the carcass; they place the blood on their doorposts; and at midnight they flee into their homes to escape the Angel of Death. Perhaps the White House Seder could follow this tradition; maybe that would help to make more palpable and horrifying the fear among those we increasingly persecute in our nation—and drive home a realization that, in time, the Reaper comes for the persecutors.