This year’s anti-Semitism must have a place at the seder table.
Special To The Jewish Week
What will Jews do this year?
Passover is a time of joy and freedom, anticipation and redemption. And because we are strong and free, we can afford one pointed flash of anger. After the meal, we traditionally open the door for Elijah and say three biblical verses of vindictiveness that begin “Pour out Your wrath…” Shfokh hamatkha al ha-goyim. We crave justice. We seek revenge. We ask that our enemies get their just desserts for all of the irrational hatred we’ve suffered. We note the spilled venom of centuries that has taken innocent Jewish lives.
The feature film “Selma” and the fickle nature of identity politics have reminded Jews that it’s easy to be forgotten in the struggle for civil rights. With movie magic, Jewish participation was edited out, left on the cutting room floor like an inconsequential plot.
How many of us realize that the organization founded in 1897 by Theodor Herzl to establish a modern Jewish state still exists? It’s called the World Zionist Organization, and it’s guided by resolutions of the World Zionist Congress, which convenes at four-year intervals.
On Friday, March 13, Jews will gather in over 500 locations for the annual happening that has come to be known as “Shabbat Across America.” But in only one community, mine, will congregations ranging across the denominational spectrum from right to left come together for this event. True, Hillels do this kind of thing routinely, as do utopian gatherings like Limmud, and small, isolated communities where there is little choice. But otherwise, according to the organizers, we’re it. In a historic show of unity, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and unaffiliated Jews will celebrate Shabbat. Over 300 people have signed up thus far, and the number is climbing.
Expectations for heightened Arab involvement in Israeli national politics are rising. There is a chance that the newly formed Joint List, bringing together four Arab political parties, could generate a higher voter turnout on March 17 than those parties had previously attracted as separate lists, and possibly make the united Arab bloc the official opposition in the next Knesset.