Victims of domestic violence, sex assaults will share in Passover Seder holy dinner in Brooklyn
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Sunday, April 17th 2011
The Passover spirit of freedom has a whole new meaning for crime victims putting together a special Seder where they will share stories about abuse, during the holy dinner.
Survivors of domestic violence, sex assaults and child abuse will pack into the B’nai Israel of Linden Heights synagogue on Ninth Ave. in the Borough Park section of Brooklyn Monday and Tuesday night.
Passover honors the Israelite slaves’ escape from Egypt with a 15-step meal called a Seder where stories of bondage are mixed in with the matzo.
Organizer Annie Kay, 33, spent the past month preparing to feed 500 victims and their families, explaining that the horror of living through a crime is no different than the nightmare of being a slave. “They need a family. The rabbis want to keep it so it looks like crimes in our community don’t happen,” said Kay, a Hasidic Jew who changed her name after launching the Coalition Against Legal Abuse in New York back in February.
The Jewish law of mesira prohibits a Jew from snitching to cops on another Jew but some rabbis give a pass depending on the crime. Still, if a victim comes forward in one of the city’s insular Orthodox Jewish communities, families are usually shunned at schools, synagogues and work.
A Borough Park woman named Chaya, 22, said her dad used to beat her with metal coat hangers when she was a kid. “I have a feeling for people hurt by abuse,” said Chaya, who spent the week peeling potatoes in preparation for the two big meals. “I want to help others have a comfortable life.”
So far, 386 cooked chickens are sitting in fridges along with 14 pounds of coleslaw and 50 pounds of gefilte fish. “It doesn’t matter how many people will come. We will feed everybody,” said Kay. “We want more people to feel empowered to speak out.”