The Passover Seder is a special experience, a unique observance quite fitting for the Jewish People who pride ourselves on the preservation of our history, both our success and our suffering, through our collective memory.
Kibbutz Beit Shitah 1955
Each community celebrates with unique customs that reflect its adaptation to life in different countries all over the world. In Israel, each of the Diaspora cultures continues to be represented on Seder Night – Leil HaSeder – ליל הסדר. These customs enrich our understanding and appreciation of the holiday, and they point to the diversity of age-old Jewish traditions that evolved from the cultures in which they were nurtured.
Children in Israel has been singing about the arrival of Spring and Pesach for weeks, helping to clean the gan and taking part in a traditional seder. Every restaurant, car, and home goes through a spring cleaning – regardless of how observant one might be. It is tradition. It is our history. And even the most secular Israelis will find themselves at a Passover Seder of some type.
Photo by Leah Golda Holterman HERE in the homeland we only have 1 Seder night, while around the world it is celebrated with 2 recountings of the Exodus story. Could it be that, in addition to the halachic reasons, this is so that every Jewish home around the world should have that extra reminder of their home so far away? As we turn another page of the Haggadah, how can we remind ourselves that this is the story of our return to Israel? Must it wait until the very, very end for the declaration of NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM??
And since we all know how tough it is to find the time and money to get to Israel, can we somehow fulfill this declaration of commitment from wherever we may be in the world?
Haggadah of Independence, 1950s We sing of the release of the Nation of Israel from slavery, we recount the passing over of the Angel of Death of the houses of the Children of Israel, but within the text itself, it is easy to forget that the questions being asked cannot only connect us with this ancient history, but also of our wanderings and our journey as a people en route to our destination – our ancient home in the Land of Israel.
Not only should we ask “how are we to remember the plagues and our escape from bondage?”, but we should remember as well the land of freedom to which our destiny is bound.
“Just as in my youth we had a “matzah of hope” to carve out time from the historic ritual to remember the contemporary challenges of Soviet Jewry, we need to use this most popular Jewish ritual to delight in the miracle of Israel’s surviving – and thriving.” Virtual Citizen of Israel Gil Troy