Research tells us that Passover is the most beloved and celebrated Jewish holiday of the year. So, I guess it is not surprising that Passover is, without a doubt, my favorite Jewish holiday. What is it about Passover that gives us such joy and calls so many Jews to observe this special time?
For starters, I am sure it’s the food, of course. Even someone like me, who normally prefers to be in and out of the kitchen, loves to spend time preparing for the Seder meal. Is it tradition, fond memories of family Passovers, the joy of gathering with others to participate in the reading of the Haggadah? I would welcome hearing from all of you with your thoughts about what makes Passover so special and so loved.
Passover is another opportunity, as well, to celebrate as a community. I invite you to come to the Temple Israel Community Second Night Seder on Tuesday, April 15th. Our seder organizers Rose Raskin and Jennifer Streisand do a magnificent job of putting together a memorable Seder and an enjoyable evening. If you have not attended a Temple Seder before, or if it’s been a while since you last attended, I encourage you to consider joining the TI community and guests this year to observe the second night. And the best part is no cooking, and no kitchen cleaning. So, come, relax, enjoy, and join in community.
In addition to the food and wine and joyful celebration, there is great meaning in the story of the Exodus that we recall during Passover. Passover requires us to reflect on what it was like to be a “slave in Egypt” and to be in the Mitzraim or narrow place. We are called on to be mindful of those who are still living in a narrow place in our own time due to illness, poverty, addictions, discrimination, as well as to remember those for whom full freedom is not yet a reality. Passover offers another opportunity to think about how we can practice Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) by reaching out to those who can use help in fleeing their narrow places. There are so many ways we can make a difference in the lives of others in our own community by volunteering for one of the many local social-services organizations.
I wish you and all those who will celebrate with you a Passover filled with good food and much joy. And remember, “Next year in Jerusalem.”