Dear Members and Supporters,
On Passover, during the Seder, we
retell the story of the journey of our people from slavery to
freedom. We remember our ancestors and rekindle our connection
to their struggle. Asking questions and holding discussion are
traditional parts of the ritual of our seder. Indeed the Seder
is a ritual built around questions designed to stimulate
learning and pass on traditions.
During these tumultuous times,
conversation often turns to the Middle East: our worries, our
hopes, and our dreams for our people to be free from the yoke of
the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For some of us, this discussion means
arguments in which people often don't really listen to one
another. For others, it means trying to change the topic so as
to maintain the "calm." Still others eagerly await an
opportunity for an honest exchange among family and friends
regarding this most pressing issue facing Jews.
The Haggadah itself imagines four
different approaches to the Seder ritual through the parable of
the four children—one wise, one wicked, one simple, and
one who does not know how to ask. We might also imagine four
approaches to discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: there
are those who approach the conflict from an emotional place,
those who come armed with facts and details, those who are too
overwhelmed and hopeless to open their mouths, and those who ask
"what does this conflict have to do with me?" It is instructive
here to consider the model of the parent in the Seder story, who
answers and engages each child on his or her own terms, in order
to make the Seder meaningful to all.
This Pesach, we urge you to
experiment in reaching out to those with different opinions. You
might even find that you are not really that far apart.
Here are some suggested questions and
comments to get dialogue started. These are just ideas; you can
be creative. Your relatives may even surprise you and ask what
you think—which, of course, will include your talking
about the work of Brit Tzedek!
- Do you think that we, as American
Jews, can be anything more than spectators to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, watching a tragedy unfold more
deeply each day?
- I'm also deeply concerned about the
welfare of Jews. What do you think we can we do to best support
Israelis in this time of crisis?
- What exactly do you think is the
threat Jews/Israelis are now facing and how do you believe we
can most effectively address that threat?
- What can we do to bring about a
peaceful solution to the conflict now?
- Do you think we'll ever be able to
tell our children that Jews are no longer at war with our Arab
- Is there any way to resolve this
conflict without one side winning and the other
- Do you really think that all Muslims
and Arabs hate Jews and want to kill us?
- Do you have any Muslim or Arab
friends or acquaintances and if not, have you ever considered
trying to build a friendship with someone of Muslim or Arab
I want to wish you and your loved
ones a happy Pesach.
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance
for Justice and Peace
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