A few weeks ago, I attended a humanist Passover seder. As we read the haggadah that had been adapted for our contemporary humanist community, we called out modern plagues as well as the traditional list, leading me to ask: what is so bad about frogs?
Others explained it to me: There were too many of them! The pharaoh woke up with frogs in his bed! They were raining from the sky! Okay, I wouldn’t like that either.
Nowadays, there are not enough frogs. The National Zoo, along with similar sites and organizations, aims to teach visitors about the chytrid fungus that is decimating frog and other amphibian species. While researchers from the Smithsonian rescue and study frogs in Panama, displays in the Zoo’s Amazonia exhibit educate people about the tiny poison dart frogs hiding in the bromeliad plant, and the risks they face from chytrid fungus and other environmental risks such as climate change and loss of natural habitat.
This is one thing I love about holidays: helping humans understand the plagues and triumphs of the past, the events worth commemorating and celebrating. This is one thing I love about museums and zoos: helping humans understand the plagues and triumphs of the past as well as those affecting our own world, and what we can do about them.
To all who celebrated Passover, I hope it was lovely and meaningful, and may we all eradicate the plagues of our time!