In the News: Susannah Heschel
"In some Jewish households, you'll find an orange on the Passover Seder plate as a show of support for women and members of the LGBTQ community. A common myth is that the orange is a feminist act in defiance of a man who once said that women don't belong in the rabbinate just as oranges don't belong on the Seder plate."
However, according to an article by Susannah Heschel, the Dartmouth College Jewish studies professor credited with starting this Passover tradition in the 1980s, the orange represents the fruitfulness of gay and lesbian Jews. At her Seders, Heschel directs participants to eat an orange wedge and spit out the seeds in repudiation of homophobia.
Read more at: http://dartgo.org/dnewssheschel12
An Orange on Plate for Women — And Spit Out Seeds of Hate
"Passover was high drama in my childhood. Preparations began weeks in advance, with meticulous scrubbing, shopping and organizing. Strong emotions came out in the days before the holiday, when every crumb of hametz had to be removed, and we had to tread very carefully. One mistake could bring calamity. When we finally sat down for the Seder, my mother would always claim that only women understood the Exodus, having slaved away in the kitchen for weeks and then been finally liberated when the holiday began, but too exhausted to enjoy it.
I love the Haggadah, the Hebrew text as well as all the special actions we take at the Seder; eating, drinking, reclining, discussing and debating. In my home, we immerse ourselves in the Haggadah in Hebrew and also in the centuries of commentary on each passage. While we carefully follow all the traditions, we also recognize that over the centuries, Jews have often added new customs to Passover."
For the full article in The Forward