Friday, April 06, 2012
An Orange on the Seder Plate
Taking part in this year's campaign by Nashot HaKotel aka Women of the Wall. It must be at least 25 years since the first feminists added an orange to the symbols on the Seder plate. WoW asked us to photograph ourselves with an orange upon which was written one's name and current location. So here I am (wearing the QPR Dennis the Menace shirt just after returning from the Arsenal game).
So why an orange? The story is circulating that Susannah Heschel (daughter of the great rabbi Abraham Joshua H) once asked an orthodox rabbi when he thought women would be allowed to stand on the bima and lead the community in worship. His supposed reply was that it had as much chance of happening as there was of bread being placed on a Seder plate. Turns out that this is not what actually happened. According to Heschel herself, the issue was solidarity with Jewish lesbians, and since one should not put bread on the Seder plate, she decided that an orange should be used instead. The full details may be found here.
Today, in solidarity with LGBTQ people, women, and anyone marginalised and suffering from prejudice, we maintain this custom.