Tomorrow night I am hosting a mock Seder. It is a mock Seder because it will not actually take place on Passover. This year my family will be away for our favorite holiday, which we customarily celebrate at my brother John's home, and which is usually so lovingly prepared by his wife, my sister-in-law, Tami.
But this year is different. In addition to the fact that we will miss my brother's Seder, I am making this mock Seder because it has been three years since my son John has celebrated Passover, and it will be four more years until he will celebrate it again (presently he is at boarding school and he is heading off to college in September). So, I don't want to miss the opportunity to create meaningful memories for him or my other two boys, especially as they relate to our family and their heritage.
Passover is a very significant holiday because it commemorates the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and recounts their long wandering in the desert on their way to becoming a nation.
At our Seder, like at so many Seders around the globe, we focus not only on the liberation of our ancestors, whose freedom from slavery allows us to exist as Jews today, but also on the importance of freedom for all peoples around the world.
Retelling the Exodus story reminds us that we are obliged to help others in need of freedom. It is this message that I want my boys to hear and integrate in their lives. It is their responsibility to help make this world a better place, and it is my responsibility to make sure they know that.
It is our family tradition that before we sit around the dinner table to read the haggadah, drink our four cups of wine, and break the middle Matzah, we always come together in my brother's living room, learning something about Judaism, Passover, Freedom...
And this year, in my own home, things won't be any different. We have invited my brothers and their families, my mom, and family friends to share in our special celebration. And while the preparation of serving sixteen stresses me out, I know I will have the most enjoyable evening.
The preparation began early this week. Finding the recipes, shopping for ingredients, setting the table. All to be done by Thursday so that I could cook on Friday. I am pretty well set. Brisket and charoset are done. Chopped Liver and gefilte fish are ready.(I know it sounds disgusting). Tomorrow I will bake the macaroons, finish setting the table and prepare our Passover learning/discussion.
I look forward to a wonderful evening celebrating traditions with family and friends while hopefully instilling in my sons the passion to be righteous individuals and the importance of preserving their Jewish heritage through holiday rituals.
Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Passover each has its own rituals and traditions. It is the rhythm of the calendar, the rhythm of family life...and the cycle continues. So glad its my 50th year and I am able to celebrate this occassion with my family. Next year in Jerusalem!