In case anyone was curious, I wanted to post a brief update to my post a couple of days ago about speaking out against my Christian congregation’s “seder”. I took one redditor’s advice and spoke with the rabbi of a neighboring town’s synagogue. This was the general take away:
The first thing she said was, “if they don’t want to listen, there’s nothing you can do to make them listen.” This was hard but necessary to hear. I’m originally from NJ/NY and lived in neighborhoods where the majority of people were Jewish. I just assumed the people where I currently live were ignorant, but I could educate them. I have to accept that some people just don’t want to be educated.
She said, “Theres a reason they want to do this. They want to feel connected to these stories in the Old Testament and they think a seder will help them do that. But what they don’t understand is a seder is not just the plate and the symbols and the script, its the discussion about the Jewish people, both past and present. So they’ll do a seder, poorly, and most likely will come away feeling like that wasn’t meaningful. So that’s when you can say, “next year, let’s do it correctly so there’s meaning. Im friends with the rabbi, she offered to come walk us through a seder. Would you be open to having her come next year?”
Because of interfaith relations, she didn’t want to speak out against it or publicly condone it. And I completely respect and understand that. She said, “the best way to make a change is from inside an organization. So don’t alienate yourself or cause offense, because then people will be less likely to listen. Offer your help with their seder. Say you’re there if they have questions. If you don’t want to attend, don’t make a speech about it, just say you can’t make it. It’s most likely too late for this year, but if you don’t cause offense then you can try to make changes for next year.”
She concluded by inviting me to her seder, which I really appreciated. My oldest, who is 10, is very interested so that should be fun (although, to be fair, I got pretty excited talking about matzo ball soup and how I hadn’t had it in so long, so that may be what she’s looking forward to.)