For me, Pesach has always been a time to see that crazy family of mine, eat delicious food, and retell the story of our people crossing arid deserts to reach the Promised Land. As the holiday approaches this year in 2011, the southern neighborhoods of Tel Aviv had a gathering for their own family.
Around 5:30 in the afternoon of Saturday April 9th, the African refugees from around the area, the Israeli citizens, as well as the Tikkun Olam participants all gathered at Levinsky Park to have a seder of their own. This, indeed, was a spectacle to see as individuals from several different cultural and ethnic backgrounds congregated to share this special time together.
This seder happened to take place approximately 24 hours following a demonstration by the Tel Aviv population that resents the growing African refugee situation present in Tel Aviv. People gathered to express their beliefs as to why the refugee “problem” is getting out of control while chanting outrageous and spiteful slogans aimed at the refugees. W
hile the refugee population has been increasing over the past several years, there is no excuse for this type of behavior. While it is true that much needs to be done regarding the amassing refugees, there is only so much that Israel can do. On top of that, racism and hatred not acceptable and is blatantly forgetting that we too were strangers in the land of Egypt.
It is our responsibility to never forget that. Having an event such as this Refugee Seder really seemed to breathe life into a population that has been the victim of insensitive and slanderous comments.