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Israel: Tweeting the Passover Seder

The Jewish holiday of Passover began on the night of Friday April 6, and millions of Israelis gathered with their family for the Seder, the traditional ritual feast. The feast is preceded by reading the Haggada, which (among other things) describes the Exodus of the People of Israel from Egypt. The Passover Seder is notorious for being lengthy, and if followed according to the rules, eating commences after hours spent around the dinner table, reading from the Haggada and singing. The Seder, which is traditionally done with the extended family, is also infamous, much like American Thanksgiving, as an occasion when one is forced to spend time with disagreeable family members.

Table set for the Passover Seder. Image by Gilabrand, Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli Twitter users, known for their sense of humor and cynicism, could be counted on to tweet their Passover Seder experiences.

Lior Oren wrote:

ואין כמו ערב פסח כדי לזכור כי יש אנשים שאין להם היכן לעשות סדר, הם בודדים בביתם. עם בירה. ולקנא בהם.
@alodium: There's nothing like the evening of Passover to remind you of the people who have no place to do the Seder, and they are lonely in their homes. With a beer [forbidden for consumption on Passover]. And be jealous of them

Rotem wrote:

הצעת חוק- כל ערב פסח, בין השעות שמונה לאחת עשרה כל הרציחות יוכרו כאי שפיות זמנית.
@rotemism: A law proposal – in each evening of Passover, between the hours of 8 and 11 pm, all murders will be recognized as a result of temporary insanity.

Avishay wrote:

עוד לא התחלנו וכבר 3 מתי תתחתן ו4 מה עם ילדים
@avishay_b: We haven't even started yet [the Seder] and I already got three “when will you get married?” and four “and what about children?”

Amir wrote:

השעה שמונה וחצי, ועדיין לא התחלנו. אני הולך להתנצר
@amirimon: It's 8:30 pm and we haven't even started yet. I'm going to convert to Christianity

Referring to the strict religious prohibition on consumption of leavened bread during the week of Passover, and the great effort religious/traditional Jews make to clean their homes and remove all bread prior to the start of the holiday, DKapuchino joked:

סבתא, מצאתי לך פרור לחם בתריסים. את הולכת לגהנום
@dkapuchino: Grandma, I found a bread crumb in the shutters. You're going to hell

Musician Mux 2000 reported:

שיכור. מפריע לסדר הציבורי לקול מחאות האורחים מהצד היותר רציני של השולחן
@mux2000: Drunk. Disturbing the public order to the sounds of disgruntlement of the guests at the more serious side of the table.

The blogger Gal Chen wrote:

יחסית לעובדה שהוא מותיר צלקות נפשיות למספר שנים, ליל הסדר ממש קצר
@galchs: Considering the fact that it leaves emotional scars for year, the Seder is really brief.

And, of course, there were the political tweets:

Noa Dror wrote:

לעולם לא אסלח למדינת ישראל על שהשניאה עלי את היהדות כה. חג אביב שמח וסגר נסבל לכולם.
@noa_dror: I'll never forgive the State of Israel for making me hate Judaism so much. Happy Spring Holiday [an alternative name for Passover] and a tolerable closure to everyone. [Each Passover, Israel enforces a complete closure of the occupied Palestinian territories]

There is a tradition of leaving an empty chair for Prophet Elijah at the Passover Seder table, to express the hope for his return along with the Messiah. In recent years, Israeli families added an empty chair for the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, to also signal the hope for his return. Referring to this practice, Journalist Yair Tarchitsky mocks the Israeli public for not caring about Ouda Tarabin, an Israeli Bedouin who is imprisoned in Egypt for accidentally crossing the border into Egypt.

מרגש לדעת שכמעט בכל בית בישראל השאירו הערב מסביב לשולחן הסדר כיסא ריק לעודה טרבין, הבן של כולנו
@yairtar: So moving to know that almost every home in Israel kept an empty chair at the table for Ouda Tarabin, the son of all of us [a common way of referring to Gilad Shalit]

Israeli blogger and social justice activist Haim Har-Zahav ‏wrote:

אני אף פעם לא אומר את המשפט של ״לשנה הבאה בירושלים הבנויה״, כי אני מקווה שאת הסדר הבא אעשה בישראל ולא בירושלים ‎‫#חי_בגיהנום‪‏
@haimhz: I never say the sentence: “Next year in Jerusalem” [which ends the Seder, signaling the Jews' hope to return to Jerusalem during Exile], because I hope that the next Seder I'll do will be in Israel, not Jerusalem [largely populated by ultra-Orthodox Jews]. #LivingInHell

And then there were the tweets discussing the non-stop tweeting of the Seder itself:

Dudi Rosenthal joked:

אישתי כמעט תפסה אותי מצייץ מתחת לשולחן. למזלי גיליתי תושיה ואמרתי לה שאני מאונן
@DudiRosenthal: My wife almost caught me tweeting under the table. Fortunately, I was resourceful and told her I was masturbating

Liron wrote:

עשרים אחוז אגדה. שישים אחוז אינסטגרם וטוויטר. עשרה אחוז ווטסאפ ואסאמאסים. עשרה אחוז לתקשורת עם הסביבה. תם הסדר
@liront: 20% Haggada. 60% Instagram and Twitter. 10% WhatsApp and SMSes. 10% communication with the people around me. The Seder has ended.

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