“I think Passover should be a celebration of veganism, with its emphasis on just plain flatbread, some herbs, the haroset paste, and I guess some potatoes.”
New York, April 5 – Local abstainer from animal products Trey Zuzay informed his prospective hosts for the Passover Seder this year that when the time comes to recite or chant a liturgical poem that describes a series of carnivorous and violent interactions among animals and at least one human, he will decline to participate.
Zuzay, 19, refuses to condone mistreatment of animals, and told his prospective hosts that while he appreciates their hospitality and their catering to his dietary needs, he cannot in good conscience sit idly as those around him glorify or nonchalantly accept the killings of a goat and an ox, in addition to physical abuse of a dog, that the song Had Gadya – “One Kid” in Aramaic – at the end of the Haggadah appears to endorse.
The poem, a metaphorical description of the enemies who have oppressed and “consumed” the people of Israel through the millennia, uses the various creatures and physical objects or forces to represent the nation’s long exile and suffering, likening the people of Israel to a young goat – the “kid” in the title. In the process, a cat eats the goat, is bitten by a dog, which is beaten with a stick, which is consumed by fire, which is doused by water, which is drunk by an ox, which is slaughtered by a butcher, who is put to death by the Angel of Death, whom the Lord then destroys. Zuzay feels he cannot countenance such a violent series of images involving animals, and will either sit in protest or actually stand up and leave the table when the song begins.
“We should have moved past this as a culture long ago,” insisted Zuzay, a sophomore at Columbia. “I think Passover should be a celebration of veganism, with its emphasis on just plain flatbread, some herbs, the haroset paste, and I guess some potatoes. The whole bone and egg on the Seder plate? That’s immoral. I’ve already made it clear to my hosts this year that I’m not going to sit at a table where the results of animal murder and abuse are so blithely enjoyed.”
“I think we have to move away from the violence of the Haggadah in general, actually,” he continued. “The whole Ten Plagues litany isn’t really for me, for example. Also, I think the Seder Plate should be updated with more socially relevant items, such as sourdough spelt bread.”
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