April 12, 2022
Dear Friends,
It’s hard to believe that Pesach is just a few days away. I hope all of your preparations are going well, from cleaning cupboards to making food. (Matzah candy-making commences soon at the Samuels household.) This continues to be one of my favorite times of the year. While I am saddened that our 2nd Night Community seder will once again be virtual, I am very much looking forward to seeing each of you, even if that means in little boxes on my computer screen. I am confident we will be back in person at the synagogue for the 2nd night next year. (In case you’re wondering, that will be Thursday, April 6, 2023.)
Part of the fun of a seder is being in company with others. While Covid-19 is far from over, it seems as though more and more people are feeling comfortable socializing in groups again. While we weren’t able to match people searching for a seat at a seder table last year with hosts, perhaps we can do that this time around. If you are looking for a 1st night seder to join or if you have extra seats at your table, please email office@bethisraelbellingham.org or call 360-733-8890 by Friday morning and we will do our best to match you up. Even when we are apart we can still create community.
One of the reasons why I love Pesach so much is that each home is expected to tinker with the seder in ways to make it most enjoyable and meaningful. Below are some tips, including some personal ones, that just might enhance your seder this year.
  1. Enliven your seder with musical instruments from shakers to ukuleles or whatever you have at home. Let’s follow Miriam’s lead and make some music as we celebrate our freedom.
  2. Pass out different haggadot to your guests. Each haggadah follows the same order (seder), so why not hear a multitude of readings.
  3. Have each guest sign their haggadah. This is a wonderful custom so you can look back over the years and remember who joined you.
  4. Begin your seder in the living room where you can truly recline. Then, move over to the dining room table for shulchan orech, the festive meal.
  5. Pass out scallions to each guest and encourage everyone to playfully whip one another prior to the singing of deyenu. This is one of my family’s favorite customs that originates in the Middle East.
  6. Bring new traditions to your seder. The last thing you want is a boring seder. Spice it up with new customs. Try the African custom of walking around the seder table holding a piece of matzah over your head prior to sitting down.
  7. Don’t read the haggadah word for word. Enhance your seder by giving your own commentary on a haggadah reading or section.
  8. Lastly, connect our narrative to the stories of the present day and ask yourselves how we can alleviate a little bit of the suffering others are experiencing. The seder not only reminds us of our history, but perhaps more importantly, it urges us to free those in constricting places.
Andrea Shupack and I look forward to celebrating with you on Saturday evening at 5:30 pm. Follow this link below.
Meeting ID: 842 1193 0745 Passcode: 9msMX7
Next year together again!
Chag pesach samech,
Rabbi Joshua Samuels