Posted on: March 25, 2012
The past few weeks seemed to have sped by at lightening pace. Some how I find myself eleven days away from Passover and quite honestly unprepared. Yes, I’ve started to remove the chametz from my home, I did an initial deep clean, I’ve pestered people who haven’t yet RSVPed to my seder and am putting the final touches on my menu. Yet, despite all of these preparations it still feels like I should have at least another two weeks of planning, when in fact it’s inching closer to one week day by day.
Passover is one of those holidays that I feel lucky that I live in NYC surrounded by a lot of Jews by choice. When you think about it, nearly all Jewish holidays are home-focused, but Passover seems to be the second most popular holiday for heading back home to be with your folks-if only for your mother’s famous brisket or your Uncle Moshe’s story telling. I’ve heard countless stories of family memories around the Passover table and if you’re a JBC, you may find yourself stranded on Passover.
While many synagogue communities host seders, it’s this idea of inviting people into your home for meals that the liberal traditions should take a lesson from the Orthodox tradition. I’ve often been in a liberal shul on Shabbat and never once have I been asked if I had a place to have Shabbat dinner, verses the few times I’ve been in an Orthodox shul and always asked if I had a place to eat Shabbat dinner. I find that it’s the same for Passover. A friend of mine recently told me a story about how a client of hers, an Orthodox woman, invited her to Pesach dinner at an appointment. This woman looked past the brown skin of my friend, past her pants and saw the Magen David around her neck. Her first question was, Are you a Jew? Her second was, Do you have a place to go for seder? I thought it was incredibly remarkable that this virtual stranger was willing to open her home to another Jew simple because. Sure it’s a part of our Passover tradition-to open the door as the seder starts and declare, “Let all who are hungry come to eat!” but how many of us do this in real life?
I feel blessed to have a group of friends that I can count on being around my seder table. Just like last year a mixed multitude of religions, races and ethnicities will find their way to my Pesach Seder. Some of us are Jews, some of us are Christians, and some of us only believe in a great meal with friends. I cherish these holidays with friends, I feel lucky that I can share my home with people and I hope that when I have a family of my own I continue to open my door to Jews who find themselves alone for the holidays. Who’s going to be around your seder table?