JTNews; messing with the message of Passover (and a new cartoon)


JT Haggadah2

Despite waning levels of observance and affiliation among non-Orthodox Jews in America, still 70% will be attending a Seder this coming Passover. For most the mixture of familiar tunes, foods and ritual will conjure a shared national moment of  unity that stretches well beyond our own dining rooms.  Passover is in many ways a communal reset, reminding the current and next generation of the miraculous liberation that led to the revelation at Sinai and the consummation of our nationhood.

And yet there are those who see everything through the political prism, unable to miss the opportunity to sully the spiritual with the banal, or the perverse.

We recently wrote of how the radical leftist organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), appropriates the soaring symbolism of the Haggadah and perverts it into a bludgeon with which to pummel the Jewish state. JVP has just released a supplement to their notorious anti-Jewish Haggadah (what could be more anti-Jewish than positing that Israel is the modern day villain of the Passover narrative?).  Adding an extra does of joy to the celebration,  the 2014 JVP Haggadah Supplement includes an appeal for all assembled to boycott Hewlett Packard.

Good luck with that.

This phenomenon of politicizing just about anything of Jewish import is not unique to JVP.  The JTNews bills itself as Seattle’s Jewish community newspaper yet one would be hard pressed to find any deviation between the paper’s editorial positions and those of the progressive wing of the Democrat party.  Case in point, a crude and demeaning editorial in the latest edition of the once (long ago) proud paper.

In his plea for an increase in taxes to fund public transportation which he brashly titles “With an outstretched arm, vote yes on Prop. 1”, Editor Joel Magalnick writes;

During Passover, we tell of how we were slaves, and we had nothing. Once Moses, with his outstretched arm, parted the sea and gave us our freedom, we had everything in the world. For many of our fellow citizens, access to transportation is their ticket to freedom. As we tell the story of the Exodus at our seders next week, outstretch your own arms. Then vote yes on Proposition 1

With those silly words Magalnick clutches the elevated language and  inspired theme of  liberation and revelation, lofts it over his head and smashes it on the rocks of the mundane.

The benefits and costs of any government funded project is of course worthy of discussion as a practical matter. But to expropriate our core faith rituals to promote one’s personal municipal cause de jure, whether it be buses, sewage or bike lanes is both petty and insulting.


As we enter this glorious festival of liberty, may we look to the directive of the Haggadah and redouble our efforts to fulfill the imperative “May all who are hungry come and eat“, even if without a government proposition mandating us to do so.

In the true spirit of Passover, please consider making a donation to a worthwhile food charity like Leket Israel which serves as the country’s largest food bank and food rescue network actively working to alleviate the problem of nutritional insecurity among Israel’s diverse population. 

May you have an uplifting and meaningful Passover.

Chag Kasher Ve”sameach to all of our friends from The Mike Report.

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