By the time you read this, the Seders will be finished but Passover continues! Since we are still in the mood, it is time to get ready for next year! The challenge of Passover today is that we get ready too late — not too late to buy the food and clean the house, but too late to discover new meanings and buy new Haggadahs. Why is it that the new books come out without enough time to read them? Well, maybe that doesn’t happen to you, but this year I got two wonderful Passover resources that I am going to recommend — perhaps some of you will buy them now and be ready for next year!
Check this one out: What Every Christian Needs to Know About Passover by Rabbi Evan Moffic. The subtitle is “what it means and why it matters.” That idea intrigued me — don’t we all want to answer that question whether Jewish or Christian? I must admit I have not finished the book (as I am reading four other books at the same time) but I have found lots to think about and isn’t that what Passover is all about? Asking questions — digging deeper — looking for meaning? Every year (really every day) we are a new person with questions and this book has some very interesting ideas; we don’t need to accept everything, but being open is important!
The second new book is called Seder Talk: The Conversational Haggada by Erica Brown. It has the complete traditional Haggadah with Hebrew and English and wonderful commentary and additional readings for all of Passover. The Passover experience is one of storytelling and remembrance. We have a legacy of storytelling in Judaism. In the book, Isaac Bashevis Singer is quoted from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech in December 1978 about storytelling: “The storyteller of our time, as in any other time, must be an entertainer of the spirit in the full sense of the word, not just a preacher or social and political ideals.” Erica Brown follows Singer with this: “We are called upon this night to become master storytellers: to entertain, to preach, to be relevant, to engage, to empathize, to argue, to discuss, to dissuade, to encourage … . We talk about what happened in the past so we can understand what we must do in the present.”
So the task is ahead of you — start now to get ready for Passover 2016. Become a master storyteller — it is part of our heritage (but you do have to practice). Most important, enjoy the final days of Passover, continue learning and tell your story to your children.
Shalom…from the Shabbat Lady.
Laura Seymour is director of Camping Services at the Aaron Family Jewish Community Center.