November 16, 2018

Seder at Bernie’s

“I want to welcome you all to the first Sanders White House Seder.

“I love Passover. People say I’m not religious — but all year long I argue over Israel, then once a year, I make a seder. So, aren’t I exactly like every other American Jew?

“Now, I want to say a few words about the festival we are about to celebrate.

“First of all, the food: Don’t get too excited. I mean, who are we trying to impress?

“The gefilte fish you’re eating tonight, it comes straight from the jar. You want fancy shmancy? Fine, we’ll throw on a dollop of that fish jelly and one of those carrot circles.

“Our matzo — also, straight from the box. Now, I have heard that at Spago restaurant in Beverly Hills, the chef rolls out his own matzo dough, sprinkles it with shallots and bakes it in a wood oven. Not here. Look, this is the bread of affliction. And I know something about affliction — I ran my whole campaign around it.

“Now, I will tell you something else. I know you Jews voted for Hillary, but if she had won, Michelle Obama’s White House garden would have been full of baby lettuce and heirloom tomatoes. That’s Goldman Sachs produce! Our garden is all bitter herbs. And by ‘bitter herbs,’ I mean medical marijuana, which I just legalized in all 50 states.

“Before we eat, we’re going to go through the story of Passover. Once we were slaves, now we are free. Once we were in Egypt, now we are in the Promised Land. But, I’d appreciate it if no one asks me my policy on Egypt tonight. I don’t have my papers in front of me, just this farkakteh book with the Maxwell House ads.

“I will say that on Passover, we are taught to welcome the stranger because we were once strangers, just like my Polish ancestors. So tonight I am proud to announce I am admitting 1 million Syrian refugees into the country, and using the power of eminent domain to put them all up only on Trump properties. Who’s feeling the burn now, Donald?

“By the way, when I said throughout the campaign that my ancestors were Polish, I meant Jewish. But how else was I going to make it through the primaries?

“Now, I just want to alert you to the fact that I have replaced a third of the traditional haggadah with the story of the Palestinian people. Before some of you spit out your Manischewitz, let me explain. For too long, no president has stood up to the Israelis. Not a single one, until I came along. Now just before dinner, one of you pointed out that Eisenhower forced the Israelis to retreat in the 1956 war, and Kennedy refused them nuclear weapons, and Johnson tried to hold them back in 1967, and Nixon held up arms shipments, and Carter pushed them on Camp David, and Reagan sold AWACs to Saudi Arabia, and Bush’s secretary of state told them to screw off, and Clinton fought with Bibi, and George W. called for a Palestinian state, and Obama rammed the Iran nuclear deal down their throats. These are points well taken, but … hey, how’s that chicken soup?

“Now, in the Sanders administration, the Palestinians finally have a place at the table. That is why I’d like to point out we are doing the Ten Plagues a little differently this year. You will pour out some wine for each plague, plus a little more for the 150,000 Palestinian infants killed during Operation Cast Lead. Wait. … Oh. I am told it was 2,000 Palestinians, many of them fighters. Fine, let’s just say 75,000.

“The point is, I want to tell our many Palestinian guests here that I understand that they never had a chance to control their own land. Now again, one of you wise guys just told me that in fact Palestinians had an opportunity in 1937 with the Peel Commission partition, and during the 19 years of the Jordanian and Egyptian occupation, and in 2000 when Arafat refused the Camp David accords, and in 2008 when they rejected the Olmert proposals. OK, four chances. But nothing this week.

“Now, we will begin our seder with the Four Questions. Typically, the youngest person at the table asks them, but Simone Zimmerman was called away on urgent business, by which I mean, my campaign hid her away like an afikomen.

“So allow me: ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’ Vice President Clinton, would you like to answer that? Exactly, because on this night an old socialist Jew is president of the United States!

“So I welcome you to the first Sanders White House Seder. The bread is afflicted, the herbs are bitter, the water is salty, the brisket is dry. OK, that last thing isn’t part of the liturgy. I’m just warning you.

“Happy Passover!”


Rob Eshman is publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal. E-mail him at robe@jewishjournal.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram
@foodaism.