Passover seders celebrate Israelites' escape from bondage in Egypt. But this year, one group is taking the symbolism one step further.
Says the New York Daily News, "Survivors of domestic violence, sex assaults and child abuse will pack into the B'nai Israel of Linden Heights synagogue on Ninth Ave. in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn Monday and Tuesday night." The seder is the work of Annie Kay and the Coalition Against Legal Abuse in New York, who seeks to fight the culture of silence that surrounds abuse in often insular Orthodox communities. Says Kay, "They need a family. The rabbis want to keep it so it looks like crimes in our community don't happen...We want more people to feel empowered to speak out." This is a big deal: as the article explains briefly, this kind of silence is often literally institutionalized. "The Jewish law of mesira prohibits a Jew from snitching to cops on another Jew but some rabbis give a pass depending on the crime. Still, if a victim comes forward in one of the city's insular Orthodox Jewish communities, families are usually shunned at schools, synagogues and work." Now, they'll have a place to observe the Seder.
Describes the organization's website,
As the potatoes were peeled and the onions were chopped, emotions of long suppressed feelings of shame, anger, and abandonment by loved ones and the community resurfaced, but in a new healthy way. As the kugels were baking and the horseradish was flavored, the friendships and feelings of acceptance have taken root.