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A Special Pesach Message from My Aunt Sophie

March 20, 2013

PLUS: 10 PLAGUES, 10 COMMANDMENTS: 10 QUESTIONS FOR THE PESACH SEDER – 2013

1. In the Kiddush we speak of God as having “chosen us from all the nations.” Did He/She? And if so, why? For what? For us to be blamed for everything?

2. We begin the Seder with the invitation, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” What should our country do – cut support for the poor or raise taxes for the rich? Both? Neither?

3. There are many new food items for Pesach: kosher l’Pesach pizza – perhaps to commemorate the exodus of the Jews from Sicily! But now there is kosher l’Pesach bagels! Is this going too far? Are we “watering down” the holiday’s meaning?

4. Is there an “unpardonable” sin that would make you bar a member of the family from the Seder?

5. A well known Jewish leader and philanthropist, Edgar Bronfman, published his own Haggadah this year. Instead of the word “God” he uses the word “energy.” Do you really think it was “energy” that took us out of Egypt? Do you believe in God? Really?

6. The Hagaddah speaks of the four children. In the New American Haggadah we are told: “Some scholars believe there are four kinds of parents as well.” Which one are you?

7. The Egyptians feared the Jews because “the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly and multiplied …and the land was filled with them.” Statistics indicate that while most Jewish families are comprised of two children, ultra-Orthodox families are comprised by more than six children. Will ultra-Orthodox Jews one day make up the majority of American Jews? How do you feel about that?

8. Our tradition teaches: “It was in the merit of Jewish women that our ancestors were redeemed from Egypt.” 17% of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are women. 20% of the members of the U.S. Senate are women. But 22.5% of the members of Israel’s Knesset are women. Are you surprised to hear that? How do you explain it? Does Judaism consider women equal to men?

9. The most jarring note in the Haggadah is when we call upon God to “Pour out Thy rath upon the nations that know Thee not.” Some believe that this section is added in response to the Christian “Blood libel.” Now we have a new Pope who has a record of friendship with the Jewish people. Have times really changed?

10. At every Seder we proclaim those immortal words: “Next year in Jerusalem.” This year President Obama fulfilled those words. Did you? Will you? If not, why not? If not now, when?

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