More Israeli Employers Forgo Gifts at Passover and Rosh Hashanah
Bah, humbug! Ebenezer Scrooge seems to have come to Israel this Passover.
The big talking point among Israelis during this time of year is what their company gave them. Employers are expected by convention to give employees a gift twice a year, at Passover and at Rosh Hashanah. It’s a longstanding tradition that dates from the days when the socialist-Zionists who founded the state made it a bastion of workers’ rights.
But a survey commissioned by the Israeli Management Center (results not online) indicates that this year, one in five companies is defying expectations and giving nothing. Those who have given gifts spent an average of 355 shekels ($100), which is slightly down on previous years.
In other Passover-related news, it seems the festival is bringing a rare bout of inter-religious tolerance to the Galilee. Arab and Jewish leaders have been in conversation about the sale of pita, a traditional Arab business. Druze government minister Ayoub Kara declared that “if people’s livelihood depends on their selling hametz, we’ll make sure they do so far away from people who would be offended by its sale, and make sure to keep away from the Kinneret and the beaches,” according to this report in the Jerusalem Post.
"This holiday we take for ourselves, no longer silent servers behind the curtain, but singers of the seder, with voices of gladness, creating our own convocation, and leaving ‘The Narrow Place’ together."— E.M. Broner
"The idea of opening the door is that we hope Elijah might actually be there this year – that we might actually have done enough to change the world to have had him arrive. And, if we don’t have even the tiniest bit in us that thinks he might be there, that thinks we have tried our hardest to bring around a messianic time, with no hunger, no war, no conflict, no pain – if we don’t believe that we have tried to end those broken parts in the world – well, then I tell my students – don’t do any of it."— Rabbi Leora Kaye
"The whole seder, for me, is the tension between two statements: We say, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and now we’re free,' but before that, we pick up the matzoh, we invite the hungry in and we say, 'This year we are slaves, next year may we be free.' We are the most fortunate, liberated Jews in history. But on the other hand, there are lots of things that enslave us."— Rabbi Arthur Green