Just as the traditional Seder plate reminds us of our journey to freedom as Jews, our Gay Seder plate is full of lessons for all.
First, we see an orange. Why is there an orange?
An orange carries within itself the seeds of its own rebirth. So have gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders– All given birth to their own inclusion. Also, an orange provides both food and drink and alone can sustain life for quite some time. So have we queer Jews on the outskirts of the tradition have, at times, had to sustain ourselves until others have understood and chosen to welcome and include us.
What does a Coconut symbolizes?
The coconut represents those who are still locked inside their shell, hiding from the world their hidden beauty as an out and proud Gay Jew. We notice the shell is nearly impossible to crack with our bare hands and equally difficult for the beauty inside to escape on its own. We all know from experience that once a coconut is opened up, the richness of its inner essence pours out almost with excitement of its long awaited liberation.
The meaning of Cucumbers soaked in vinegar?
Undesirable in our world is the sour flavor of hatred, bigotry, and homophobia. We take our sliced cucumber soaked in cider vinegar and lemon and taste its sourness.
Why a bowl of Fruit Salad?
Each piece of fruit is different from the other and regardless of which fruit it is, together the diversity of textures and flavors work together to make a collective entity better than any one piece. The world we desire is one in which all people are included in society as equal players, able to contribute, to have all rights, and to love and marry whomever they wish.
What is the importance of a bouquet of Flowers?
The path that brought us to who we are today as Gay men has been full of friends and family who have supported our path, represented here by the flowers on our plate.
The significance of Sticks and Stones?
But, we also remember those who have and still do not support our freedoms and selves, represented by the sticks and stones. We reflect on the members of our community who have suffered the pain and anguish of physical assault for being different and for those who have suffered verbal abuse and harassment. Meditate on how different our lives might have been had we been in their shoes. These sticks and stones have affected us and shaped our identities. We remember the many crossroads, vistas, cracks, and divots along the way that gays in our world still must face.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam, she-ha-ko; ne-h’yeh bid-va-ra. Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, Ruler of the Universe, by whose word everything comes to be.
- Karpas (parsley or celery dipped in salt water) recalls the bitter tears shed during slavery
- Maror (bitter herbs/horseradish) to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
- Chazeret (bitter vegetables) also to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.
- Choroset (made with apples, nuts, spices and red wine) represents the mortar used by Hebrew slaves.
- Z'roa (lamb shankbone) to recall the Passover sacrifice in the ancient temple.
- Beitzah (a roasted egg) symbolizes mourning, sacrifice, spring, and renewal.