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31 March 2008 2 Comments

Seder caters to blacks, Jews with collard greens, sans ham

Palm Beach Post Religion Writer
Monday, March 31, 2008

Besides the traditional bitter herbs and sweet wine, a Passover seder on Thursday will include unexpected treats: collard greens and sweet potato pie.

The idea is to recall the shared struggles of Jews and African-Americans, said seder organizer Eunice Baros. The dinner, to take place at the Mariott City Place, includes a special Haggadah, or Passover story, that includes poetry by Maya Angelou and reminds participants, “Let us recall the struggles of all people in every generation, in every part of the world.”

Passover commemorates the exodus of Jews from slavery in Egypt. The connection with the history of blacks was obvious to the organizers, including LaRoi Wright, an artist and drummer and one of the seder organizers. Wright hopes his son can have a “bro mitzvah,” a hybrid coming-of-age rite for young black men, based on the Jewish bar mitzvah. Wright is providing a video called Freedom, which shows a black man in chains but represents “freedom for all people,” he said. Freedom will be aired during the seder and Wright will perform on the drums.

The seder food will be cooked in the kosher kitchen of the Marriott City Place in West Palm Beach, which means that the collards will be made without the traditional seasoning of ham hocks, prohibited by kosher food laws.

Thembi Says: That’s right, go ‘head Leroy! I mean LaRoi. I don’t really see the need for greens and hamhocks (let alone for Maya Angelou…like, ever), but Black/Jewish discontent is so ’90s. Let’s be done with it. I went to a seder back in ’04 and I certainly can’t front on that kugel.

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