Chag Sameiach and Shabbat Shalom – A happy Passover to all of you! And to those on this list on this Good Friday who are not Jewish – Happy Easter this coming Sunday!
With all the spiritual energy in the air today you might think that I would give you a lengthy message filled with teachings for the holiday. However, it is my hope that you are all going to be experiencing that this evening in the form of a seder. Consequently, I did not think such a message was necessary. Plus, I have to finish getting ready for my own family seders. Tonight at my sister’s in Nyack we have the “gantze mishpucha” – the extended family – a truly diverse group including 3 rabbis, many secular Israelis, Christians, secular American Jews, Asian Americans, Jewish day school kids, “New Age” spiritual non-conformists, etc. Perhaps, you have a similar gathering. After all, why should the rabbi’s family be different from all other families? Tomorrow night we have a second seder at my house in Demarest with just my two sisters’ families and my parents. You would think that this would be a seder where we would delve into the deep meanings of the Hagadah, debate the various ins and outs of the midrashim, go on for hours and hours. But, guaranteed, after 15 minutes the choruses will begin, “Do we really need to do that part? Can’t we skip it? When are we going to eat?” Dayeinu.
If you are looking for last minute help with finding material for or organizing your seder I suggest going to www.urj.org, our Reform Movement web site, or www.myjewishlearning.com, which has a guide for leaders of a seder. If you’ve got no Hagadah and a group that won’t tolerate a seder of more than a half hour, you can download a seder for about $20 from www.30minuteseder.com. To be clear, I have not used this seder but friends from the Temple whom I trust say that it covers all the bases, even if it’s not so scintillating.
In order to make your seder a little more interesting I am attaching two documents. One comes from our Reform Zionist organization, ARZA, and is a really clever take on the splitting of the middle matzah in order to create the afikomen. It’s an artful way to communicate the relationship between American and Israeli Jews and its importance.
The other is the itinerary for our congregation’s Israel trip this coming December. At the end of the seder each year we say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” In context, this is an age-old prayer for the coming of the messianic time, when, tradition teaches, all Jews will be united again in Israel and the world will be at peace. This year we can, quite literally, say, “This year in Jerusalem!” Why not take a few minutes at your seder this evening or tomorrow evening and discuss joining my family and other members of the Temple Sinai community and their families on our grand adventure to Israel? For additional information, including costs and information on the optional trip extension to Eilat and Petra, please see the “Shavua Tov” Constant Contact email blast that will come out Sunday evening this week. If you would like to receive all the information on the trip or have questions please email me at email@example.com“>firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year in Jerusalem! This year may all be free!
p.s. Don’t forget we have no services tonight at Temple Sinai but we do have a service (not a seder) at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning. We will be hosting members from Temple Emeth in Teaneck and Congregation Adas Emuno of Leonia. It is followed by a Kiddush lunch. Please join us!