Monday, April 06, 2009

The Leather Seder

The wife and I put together a Leather Seder (I had to look it up.) It's called Avadim Chayenu, which means "Once, we were slaves." Over the years, we've had a few of them here in Queens and this year it looks like we'll be having another "honey, ask the neighbors if they have another folding chair" size crowd.

The Haggadah is available for free to anyone who would like to see it or use it. Use this link to download the PDF file. This is an abbreviated version - the one we use has the lyrics to several Debbie Friedman songs and a few other items which would not fall under "fair use." If you would like to know what music we use, The Journey Continues is Debbie's awesomely fun CD, available for downloading, too.

The theme of a seder is familiar to anyone who has enjoyed Anne Baxter crooning, "Moses, Moses, Moses," or Edward G. Robinson trading in his double breasted suit jacket for a robe and headcloth. ("We're not gonna go with Moses, seeee? We're gonna make us a golden calf, seeee?" Kills me every time.) Every year, Jews around the world settle in at a table to retell the story of the exodus from Egypt and slavery into the ultimate in contracted relationships with the Ultimate of Tops.

So, why not appropriate this ritual for people who still negotiate relationships, fetishize rules and love to see Chuck Heston in a teeny little loincloth and a ton of chains?

I don't talk about "spirituality" and leather very much, because I am one of those people who actually believes ones personal religious beliefs are exactly that. But this is a rare exception for me, mainly because a Seder is supposed to open the way, to escape a narrow place and engage in something new. The stranger is welcomed to the table and made family. Wine flows and laughter is mixed with introspection. Someone will find what is hidden and ask for what they really want. The door is opened for a guest no one will see, but everyone knows.

I'm writing this surrounded by the middle of the kitchen transition; my cookware is still in storage, my favorite matzoh was not in the stores I went to, and this is one of those times when I really, really wonder where my f*cking houseboy is. But I think the menu is set, I'm pretty sure we can borrow enough chairs, and the leeks look especially robust in the market this year.

I wish a Chag Sameach to fellow MOTs and a joy-filled spring to everyone who finds something to celebrate. This year in Queens...

...probably next year, too. (wink)

By the way, The Ten Commandments really is just one of the best movies, evah.

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