Social Justice Seder Plate

Juana Berinstein

About Juana Berinstein

Juana Berinstein (pronouns she/her or they/them) was born in Argentina, from Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, immigrated to Canada in the early 1980s and now lives in Toronto. Berinstein has an undergraduate degree in Women and Gender Studies and a Master’s degree in Communication and Culture. In 2019, she completed a one-month ceramic artist in residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat, Alberta. Berinstein’s ceramic work has been exhibited in juried shows in Canada and the US.

About Social Justice Seder Plate

The shmita is a time of rest and release which inspires us to reimagine our relationships with social justice/repair of the world (tikun olam). The The traditional Seder plate holds foods that are symbolic of the Jewish escape from slavery in ancient times. Social Justice Seder Plate is a reconstruction of the traditional plate for a progressive approach to engaging with Judaism. Social Justice Seder Plate includes five foods typically found on a Seder plate and infuses them with meaning for contemporary times. It also offers six new foods to incorporate into Passover. An acorn acknowledges Indigenous people and land (Turtle Island) and serves as a call for decolonization. Horseradish symbolizes the bitterness of enslavement. Celery represents the historical and continued violence against racialized people and asserts: Black Lives Matter.A mix of nuts and apples represents the mortar used by enslaved people in ancient times forced to work in construction and the sweetness of freedom. A roasted egg symbolizes renewal. Parsley represents the possibility of growth, dipped in salt water to symbolize tears shed for injustice. The traditional shank bone is replaced with a vegetarian beet and represents the liberation of ancestors. Orange marks the inclusion of queer and trans people (and in some households, feminism) and the repudiation of homophobic and transphobic violence. Olives serve as gesture to Palestine, both the land and its people. Artichoke represents the inclusion and affirmation of chosen and interfaith families. A pinecone represents a call for prison reform/abolition. Coffee beans symbolize histories of enslavement and the realities of exploitive labour practices which continue in present day.The Social Justice Seder plate is made from ceramics, white glaze and gold lustre, and stamped with blue underglaze ink.