Masorti rabbi calls Israeli politicians war criminals in ‘justice-oriented’ Haggadah supplement

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Masorti rabbi calls Israeli politicians war criminals in ‘justice-oriented’ Haggadah supplement

EXCLUSIVE: New North London’s Lara Haft Yom-Tov writes that at seder, ‘the same war criminals who have forced Palestinian families to flee their homes will lift up their matzah and wax poetic about the Israelites’ rush to escape Egypt’

The Haggadah reader Hashata Hakha (This Year We Are Here) and Rabbi Lara Haft Yom-Tov
The Haggadah reader Hashata Hakha (This Year We Are Here) and Rabbi Lara Haft Yom-Tov

An alternative Haggadah supplement includes an essay by a Masorti rabbi referring to Israeli politicians as “war criminals who have forced Palestinian families to flee their homes”.

The article, one of 16, is entitled Let All Who Are Hungry Come and Eat, and is written by Lara Haft Yom-Tov, a Jewish educator and community rabbi working at New North London synagogue.

Rabbi Yom-Tov, who uses they/them pronouns, dismisses those who will “lift up their matzah and wax poetic about the Israelites’ rush to escape Egypt”.

Their essay forms part of an alternative “justice-oriented Haggadah” reader with contributions from members of Halachic Left, All That’s Left, and HaSmol HaEmuni.

Rabbi Yom-Tov adds that the “same politicians who have manufactured a famine in Gaza, leading millions to the brink of starvation, will proudly declare: ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat.’”

Rabbi Lara Haft Yom-Tov

The same rabbi asks whether “this Pesach, we must ask if there’s any meaning left in the words we are saying” and that “what was once the simplest line of the Haggadah has become gibberish”.

The contributors include Rabbi Arik Ascherman, Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, Rabbi Lexie Botzum, Max Buchdahl, Noa Gendler, Gabriel Gendler Yom-Tov, Rabbi Avigayil Halpern, Allen Lipson, Raphael Magarik, Mikhael Manekin, Rena Yehuda Newman, Laynie Solomon, Aron Wander, Noam Weinreich and Netanel Zellis-Paley.

A student at Beit Midrash Har-El, an Israeli rabbinical programme focused on Jewish law, Rabbi Yom-Tov is originally from Washington DC and is part of an outreach team working with young adults, according to the Masorti website.

A statement sent to Jewish News on behalf of New North London synagogue (NNLS) co-chief executives Louise Froggett and Nicki Tiefenbrun said: “The leadership team at NNLS support the freedom of our Rabbis to write in a personal capacity, and Rabbi Lara was doing so in this piece. Rabbis across the Masorti movement hold a range of views but all feel very connected to Israel’s very difficult predicament and those innocent people caught up in the conflict in Gaza. The Haggadah supplement should be seen in the context of Rabbi Lara’s writing as a whole, and their deep love and connection with Israel where they have lived and studied”.

A spokesperson from Masorti Judaism told Jewish News: “We can’t offer a comment on Rabbi Lara’s writing which was not written for or published by us. At Masorti Judaism we pride ourselves on being a community that holds space for members and leaders with many different political opinions. Therefore each Masorti rabbi is representative of their own opinion unless explicitly expressed otherwise.”

• Jewish News has contacted Rabbi Yom-Tov for comment

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