like an orange on the seder plate


The story goes that a rabbi said to a female professor, “A woman belongs on the bimah, (in a place of leadership in the congregation) as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate.”

And so, each year at Passover, there is an orange on the seder plate where we celebrate. This is just one of the things I love about the family we spend Passover with each year. It is perhaps our one long standing tradition… a gorgeous seder with my godparents and their extended famiily every year. I love that each time the room gets bigger and the kids more numerous. Ben had so much fun he tore off his pants and flung them in the air, preferring to party in his underwear for the duration of the evening.

We also did something new this year. Zahava carried a large glass pitcher around the table and each person poured drops of water into a bowl while calling out names of women they wanted to honor… it was a very sweet way to send out blessings.

And then there was gefilte fish! which no one really likes, but everyone seems to take a bite of just the same. Perhaps like a Christmas fruit cake?



  1. Posted April 19, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m always the odd one, but I like gefilte fish…
    Thanks for sharing your seder story, the photos, and the life-altering beauty of a simple and powerful stories – freedom, redemption, sorrow, new life, community. We all need all of it. And we need to find more ways to share those moments together – oranges, half naked kids, bitter herbs, and all.
    I am thinking of you and your wonder-filled family, beautiful woman-friend.

  2. Posted April 19, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    oh seder sweet seder — one of my happiest memories that i shared with my sister-in-law this morn was that of the seder my kids and i shared with her and her family when they were all still little…my 13 yo son, so in love with hot, just about blew his top when he took a generous bite of my bro-in-law’s homemade horseradish (granted he was a bit flushed with manishewitz too)…and my 4 yo nephew’s huge grin over the gold coins…and me? well this goyeh [gotta check with my sis-in-law for accuracy maybe?] loves gefilte fish…mmm, and matzoh the next morning with cream cheese and lox…xo andrea and thx for the memory rush!

  3. simone
    Posted April 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Me too-love gefilte! Can’t be the jarred kind though….only Benz in the frozen section. Really good…even for the haters!
    I love hearing about other people’s seders. Maybe we’ll put an orange on the plate this year!

  4. Leah
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    The family we celebrate with tells the story a slightly different way (I’m not making any claims as to accuracy): that someone said the role of lesbians in Jewish life is like putting bread on the seder plate. So a few Jewish lesbians and their loved ones would put bread on the seder plate, but at some point someone said instead of breaking tradition with bread, let’s transform it with an orange.
    Also, we have Miriam’s cup as well as Elijah’s cup, and the Haggadah we use has a beautiful line that I wish I could remember about Miriam’s role in the history of the Jewish people.

  5. Leela
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 4:52 am | Permalink

    You are jewish?

  6. Posted April 20, 2011 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Sounds so lovely – I wish I was there too. Ruby and Caleb would have joined Ben in the pantless evening for sure. I love the tradition of the orange. I’m going to start doing that as well!

  7. jennifer
    Posted April 20, 2011 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Chag Sameach to you and your lovely family!!

  8. Posted April 20, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    I love being surrounded by family and friends in celebration! although I party with pants on! Your boys are adorable and I hope they grow up to be best friends… we have four sons who are always there for each other and it is one of my greatest joys to see them navigate college and life- together!
    ~and how wonderful that we, strong women, get to raise sons who will always think the orange belongs! Xo

  9. Chana
    Posted April 21, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Happy Pesach, Andrea! I love this holiday, and especially how excited the little ones get over it. My 3 year old nephew’s eyes were so wide when I had him come with me to open the door for Elijah.

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  14. Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Enough joy to go pantsless=awesome. :)

  15. nicole
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    How I love this … I celebrated Passover for years with friends from college and we ALWAYS had an orange on the plate — and I always loved that story. Belated happy pesach to you and yours!

  16. Posted July 29, 2011 at 9:11 am | Permalink

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