Judaism, Slavery and Commemorative Ritual in the Netherlands

From Seder Meal to Keti Koti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Judaism and slavery in the (Early) Modern Dutch history are connected in a
paradoxical way. Jewish merchants played a minor, but substantial role in the
initial stages of the Dutch transatlantic slavery and are sometimes accused
of having contributed disproportionately to its growth. As a matter of fact, it
has been claimed that one of the first documented slaves on Dutch territory
was a Jewish slave, property of Jewish masters (the slave Elieser). On the
other hand, Jews and (descendants of ) slaves sometimes find each other in a
shared history of being victim of violence, oppression and discrimination. In
light of this, the phenomenon of the Keti Koti Dialogue Tables is of particular
interest. The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are an invention of the Surinamese
slave-descendant Mercedes Zandwijken and the Dutch Jew Machiel Keestra.
The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are meant to commemorate the Dutch role
in the transatlantic slavery by bringing together descendants of slaves and
white Dutch people. In the past five years Keti Koti Dialogue Tables have
been organized at different places in the Netherlands and up to 5000 persons
have participated. The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are explicitly inspired by the
Jewish Seder meal. As in the Seder meals questions are asked (why are we
here tonight?), symbolic food is eaten and songs are sung. In this article I will
study the Keti Koti Dialogue Tables against the background of the Seder meal
through the theoretical lenses of Multidirectional Memory (Rothberg 2009)
and Transfer of Ritual (Langer e.a. 2006). With the help of other special-purpose
Haggadot (manuals for the Seder meal), for i.e. the LGBTQ community
and ‘earth justice’, I will show that the Seder meal forms a particular useful locus for experiencing and sharing feelings of hope for peace, justice, inclusiveness
and dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)65-85
Number of pages21
JournalNTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion
Volume73
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Fingerprint

Slavery
Meal
Seder
Judaism
The Netherlands
Slaves
Descendant
Transatlantic
Justice
Jews
Peace
History
Song
Locus
Dutch History
Invention
Oppression
Merchants
Discrimination
Food

Keywords

  • Keti Koti Dialogue Tables
  • Seder meal
  • Haggadah
  • Slavery
  • The Netherlands
  • Transfer of Ritual
  • Multidirectional Memory

Cite this

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title = "Judaism, Slavery and Commemorative Ritual in the Netherlands: From Seder Meal to Keti Koti",
abstract = "Judaism and slavery in the (Early) Modern Dutch history are connected in aparadoxical way. Jewish merchants played a minor, but substantial role in theinitial stages of the Dutch transatlantic slavery and are sometimes accusedof having contributed disproportionately to its growth. As a matter of fact, ithas been claimed that one of the first documented slaves on Dutch territorywas a Jewish slave, property of Jewish masters (the slave Elieser). On theother hand, Jews and (descendants of ) slaves sometimes find each other in ashared history of being victim of violence, oppression and discrimination. Inlight of this, the phenomenon of the Keti Koti Dialogue Tables is of particularinterest. The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are an invention of the Surinameseslave-descendant Mercedes Zandwijken and the Dutch Jew Machiel Keestra.The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are meant to commemorate the Dutch rolein the transatlantic slavery by bringing together descendants of slaves andwhite Dutch people. In the past five years Keti Koti Dialogue Tables havebeen organized at different places in the Netherlands and up to 5000 personshave participated. The Keti Koti Dialogue Tables are explicitly inspired by theJewish Seder meal. As in the Seder meals questions are asked (why are wehere tonight?), symbolic food is eaten and songs are sung. In this article I willstudy the Keti Koti Dialogue Tables against the background of the Seder mealthrough the theoretical lenses of Multidirectional Memory (Rothberg 2009)and Transfer of Ritual (Langer e.a. 2006). With the help of other special-purposeHaggadot (manuals for the Seder meal), for i.e. the LGBTQ communityand ‘earth justice’, I will show that the Seder meal forms a particular useful locus for experiencing and sharing feelings of hope for peace, justice, inclusivenessand dialogue.",
keywords = "Keti Koti Dialogue Tables, Seder meal, Haggadah, Slavery, The Netherlands, Transfer of Ritual, Multidirectional Memory",
author = "Martijn Stoutjesdijk",
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language = "English",
volume = "73",
pages = "65--85",
journal = "NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion",
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}

Judaism, Slavery and Commemorative Ritual in the Netherlands : From Seder Meal to Keti Koti. / Stoutjesdijk, Martijn.

In: NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion, Vol. 73, No. 2, 1, 07.2019, p. 65-85.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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