CJP website unduly politicizes Passover seder
Many of us received a link from jewishboston.com – a Combined Jewish Philanthropies website – recently, directing us to an online feature, “More Than Four Questions.” Following it, I hoped to see questions about the seder, Passover, our Exodus from Egypt. Instead, I found questions about feminism, racial justice, labor rights, social justice, immigration, LGBTQ, climate change and inclusion.
I learned there’s no more Judaism, only liberalism. Yet most Jews are good, kind, accepting people, who do not need a seder to tune in to the liberal or conservative catalogue of issues. Does jewishboston.com really think such partisan politics brings Jews closer to Judaism or Torah or Jewishness?
Our tradition is vast and diverse, with many levels and connections. It calls for a lifetime of devoted study. Plucking a few stories and passages from it to support one political view or another is shallow and unfounded. Exploiting a Jewish holiday or ritual in the way jewishboston.com offers weakens Jewish identity.
The seder is a uniquely Jewish event recounting a uniquely Jewish experience. Universalizing it dilutes it and leaves Jews with little grounding in the values, beliefs and history that can be so helpful in bringing authentically Jewish approaches to contemporary challenges. The seder is an opportunity to enrich Jewish identity, to deepen Jewish knowledge of our freedom from slavery, to foster enthusiasm for Jewish life, to encourage interest in Judaism.
What jewishboston.com’s questions do is unduly politicize the seder, which hollows out and deflects the opportunity to convey an authentic Jewish experience.