The Rebel Women of Passover – Kveller
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The Rebel Women of Passover

The Rising Voices Fellowship is a national program for teenage girls who have a passion for writing and an interest in Judaism, gender, and justice. The Fellowship provides leadership training and a platform for identity exploration and advocacy through blogging. Over the course of the school year, the Rising Voices Fellows meet for monthly webinars and in-person retreats to investigate topics related to feminism and Judaism, and to learn how to value, develop, share, and promote their ideas. This Fellowship is a partnership between the Jewish Women’s Archive and Prozdor of Hebrew College. Kveller will periodically be sharing pieces from the Rising Voices Fellows.

My grandfather starts every Pesach Seder with the same opening lines. He talks about how he can remember being at the Seder table with his grandfather, who was once at a Seder table with his grandfather, and if you follow the generations back only a few more times you are right back at the original Pesach celebration, the escape from Egypt. These few words add so much meaning to my Pesach experience; I feel a direct relation to the Jews who escaped slavery so long ago. But while I love being able to draw this connection to the ancient past, something has always struck me about this tale: how come women are not part of this story of family linkage?

When it first dawned on me a few years ago, I couldn’t foresee what this realization would lead to. I thought about my huge family Seder that happens twice a year on Pesach. Each Seder, my family rotates the household in which the event takes place, and each year, a male in the household has led the Seder.

Leading our Seder is a big deal. You have to make sure all forty or so guests know what page we’re on, delegate speaking parts for the reading aloud of maggid, and keep the kids interested. When I asked my dad if a female could lead the next one, he told me, “The next one that’s at our house is all yours.”

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