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The Passover Seder

04/08/2022 12:47:28 PM


A question: What is believed to be the most celebrated and observed of all Jewish holidays? You might be thinking: “That’s easy, Rabbi: Yom Kippur.” Guess again. “Okay, how about Rosh Hashanah?” Try again. “Hanukkah?” Nope. Believe it or not, we believe that the most observed Jewish holiday is, in fact, Passover! Something like over 75% of Jews celebrate a Passover Seder. Why? It might be, at least in part, because you don’t have to go to Temple to celebrate it! Seriously, though, it’s a home-based holiday – and therein lies both its accessibility and its importance.

Accessible in the sense that there are few other surroundings more comfortable and more welcoming than a home, whether one’s own or that of family and friends. And important, in that home is not only where family and friends gather, Judaism confers special status on the home by calling it mikdash me’at: a miniature holy space, Sanctuary, Temple. Where better to recount the dramatic and meaningful tale of Exodus, the formative narrative of our people’s ancient origin? If we could also do that within our larger community as well, would that be the better of both worlds? And so the communal Seder on Passover’s second night was born.

This year Passover begins the evening of Friday, April 15 (which also means that Friday Night Shabbat Services on April 16 will start earlier, at 5:30pm, in order to give us time to get home for our respective family Seders) and once again we are offering our Second Night Community Seder, the evening of Saturday, April 16. (Details have been sent by email and can also be found later in this issue.) As compared to the previous two years, there’s only one difference, and it’s a big one: this year the Community Seder is both in-person and on Zoom!

The last two years found us celebrating the second night of Passover as a community, together, yes, but also from our own homes. If two years ago it was highly unusual to participate in a Seder over Zoom, imagine leading a Seder over Zoom! Very unusual. And a year later, as much as we had hoped to gather in-person, it was not to be, and so we celebrated over Zoom once again: less unusual but also less than ideal.

Which brings us to this year, when at long last we can once again gather together in-person! Yes, this year’s Second Night Community Seder will be both in-person and via Zoom. While in-person is ideal for so many of us, Zoom remains a viable option for those in our community who are not yet willing or able to gather in-person.

I hope that, in addition to celebrating Passover with your family and friends on the first night, that you’ll consider celebrating with our larger community and join us in-person or, if need be, via Zoom.  An early ‘Happy Passover’ to you and yours!

Thu, April 18 2024 10 Nisan 5784