Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-04-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



MOMBIAN Passover Questions for LGBTQ Families
by Dana Rudolph

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Passover begins the evening of April 19, and although I'm somewhat casual in my observance, I love that the holiday, which commemorates Jewish people's journey out of slavery in Egypt, has become a time for reflection on freedom and social justice. This year, I've been thinking about how we LGBTQ parents might use the traditional "Four Questions" of Passover to guide our modern-day journeys.

During the Passover seder, a ritual meal, we use a book called a Haggadah to retell and symbolically relive the story. Some of the passages come from traditional texts and liturgy, but much of the Haggadah is open to creative input. Because of the theme of freedom from oppression, many Haggadot ( plural ) aim at exploring various areas of social justice and include readings from modern civil rights leaders, poets, and other thinkers.

A key part of the seder is the asking of the Four Questions, which explain the symbols and rituals and are traditionally asked by the youngest child at the table who is able to do so. Many modern Haggadot, however, add extra questions for personal reflection or to delve into a particular area of social justice. Here, therefore, are some additional questions queer families could ask at the seder or, if you do not observe Passover, any time your family gathers for a meal and discussion.

The Four Questions actually begin with a fifth overarching question, "Why is this night different from all other nights?" This prompts me to ask: How are we, as an LGBTQ family, different from all other families—and how are we the same? I believe that our similarities—in loving our children and helping them grow and learn—go deeper than our differences. At the same time, it can sometimes be useful to think about our differences as a way of finding pride in our identities. What can we learn from exploring points of connection and places of difference? How can we use our similarities to build bridges? Where, too, do our intersecting identities of ethnicity, race, geographic origin, gender, ability, religion, and more offer us connection with other people and families, LGBTQ and not?

We move on to the first of the four traditional Passover questions: "On all other nights, we eat leavened food or matzo [an unleavened cracker]. Why on this night, only matzo?" The usual answer is that when Pharaoh finally let the Jews leave Egypt, they went quickly, grabbing their bread dough before it could rise. They were willing to adapt to eating unleavened bread in order to gain their freedom. As an additional question, therefore, I would ask: How has your family adapted to any challenges you may have encountered, either in starting your family or afterwards, and what have you learned from that experience?

The second seder question is: "On all other nights, we eat various vegetables. Why, on this night do we eat only bitter herbs [represented by horseradish and romaine lettuce on the seder plate]?" The usual answer is that they remind us of the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. My new question, then, in this year that marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, is: How can we and our children be reminded of the lives and struggles of LGBTQ families before us, and how can the stories of their lives help us today? ( One answer is to look at the booklists I've compiled at . )

The third Passover question is: "On all other nights, we don't dip [our food] even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?" This is a reference to the seder ritual of first dipping parsley in salt water to remind us of the tears of slavery and then dipping bitter herbs in charoset, a sweet paste of fruit and nuts that symbolizes the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves. I've heard it explained that dipping food in other food was something no slave had the wherewithal to do, and was therefore a sign of freedom. The second dip, into charoset, is to remind us there is sweetness even in bitter times. My question therefore is: How do we sweeten the bitterness of inequality for ourselves and our children? By finding community? Seeking allies? Taking action?

Finally, at a seder we ask, "On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we all recline?" We are told that reclining while eating is a sign of luxury and freedom. I would ask, therefore, Even as we enjoy some freedoms for our families, how can we become better allies to other marginalized groups, both within and outside the LGBTQ community?

As we tell the story of the Exodus, we recall its message, "You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt." ( Exodus 23:9 ). Although I consider myself fairly secular, that message still resonates with me in this time of new pharaohs, new oppressions, and debates about how to treat strangers coming into our land. However and whatever we may each celebrate this season, may we find meaning in it to carry us through the days ahead. Pharaohs can be overcome and freedom gained.

Dana Rudolph is the founder and publisher of Mombian ( ), a GLAAD Media Award-winning blog and resource directory for LGBTQ parents.

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Catholic bishops stopped my surgery because I'm transgender 2019-04-10 - After years of working to affirm my identity in a world where transgender people are questioned constantly about their decisions, I felt hopeful ...

Gay News

LETTER Remembering Roe 2019-04-10 - To the editor: This marks the 48th year of Choices and the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Interestingly enough, these snniversaries ...

Gay News

Mormons change policies to benefit LGBTs 2019-04-04 - Ahead of a churchwide weekend conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ( also known as Mormons ), on April 4, ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2019, LGBT Chicagoans discuss mayoral candidates 2019-03-27 - Windy City Times recently asked a cross-section of LGBT voters who they plan on voting for, and why. Here is what some of ...

Gay News

VIEWS May the best woman win 2019-03-27 - On April 2, Chicagoans will go the polls and, for the first time, elect a Black woman to be the 47th person to ...

Gay News

LETTER Backing Toni 2019-03-25 - Dear friend: As progressive activists who have worked for social change for decades, advancing women's and civil rights, early education, economic and ...

Gay News

Anti-gay fliers criticizing Lightfoot distributed near churches 2019-03-18 - Fliers decrying lesbian mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot appeared at a number of churches with predominantly Black congregations the morning of Feb. 17. The ...

Gay News

Cardinal sentenced in child sex-abuse case 2019-03-13 - Cardinal George Pell, 77—the most senior Catholic cleric ever to be convicted of child sex abuse—was sentenced to six years in prison in ...

Gay News

VIEWS Uplifting Black LGBTQ workers all year round 2019-03-13 - Black History Month may have ended, but at the National LGBTQ Workers Center, we center Black queer and transgender ( trans ) people ...

Gay News

Chicagoans contemplate path forward after anti-LGBT church vote 2019-03-10 - For Rev. Britt Cox, pastor at Church of the Three Crosses, 333 W. Wisconsin St., a Feb. 28 vote at a United Methodist ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.