Sunday, March 3, 2013

Southern Italy's Anousim Personalize the Seder Plate & Add A Symbol That Can't Be "Beet"!

This past October I introduced you to the Italian Anusim (Italians whose ancestors were forced to convert to Christianity) through a Shabbat custom related to me by Rabbi Barbara Aiello. We became e-quainted after I read an article about the Rabbi, so I recently turned to her once again about unusual Passover customs. Sure enough she had one, and it can't be "beet."

In addition to the traditional Seder Plate placed at the head of the table for the Seder leader, Italian Anusim make sure that each participant has his/her own personal Seder plate. It's plain glass and all of the symbols are placed on it, plus an additional symbol that they have developed. Italian Anusim also include a bietola -- a blood red beet -- to symbolize the lamb's blood put on their doorposts by the Israelites in order to save the firstborn in each family.

This definitely is a creative twist and should get all of us thinking about something unusual to enhance this year's Seder, be it at school or at home.

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