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Dear Friends:

The goal of every Passover seder is to ask and elicit questions. Whether teaching our youngest guests to recite “Mah Nishtanah,” or introducing new props or centerpieces to spark new questions, Passover is a holiday marked by questions.  It is essential that we do not simply go through the motions of the Passover story, but that we engage deeply with these themes and symbols.

Rabban Gamliel stresses the importance of three symbols—z’roah (shank bone), matzah (unleavened bread) and maror (bitter herbs) —and he adds that anyone who does not explain these symbols has not fulfilled the requirements of the Passover seder. For generations Jews have been adding to these three symbols. Most seder plates have at least five or six spots, and since the early 80s many families add additional items to speak to the current moment or to spark questions about those in our midst still yearning for freedom in our day.

This year we hold in our minds, hearts, and prayers the Jews and people of Ukraine. Jews around the world will be adding a sunflower to their seder plates or seder tables to be reminded that even as we gather around our tables and celebrate liberation, there are thousands of people fleeing their homes and yearning for safety and security. The sunflower has a long history in Ukraine as a flower that represents both the beauty of Ukraine and peace.  May these flowers inspire us to work toward peace for the people of Ukraine and all those in need of safety and security in our world.

As you prepare for Passover and your Passover seders, I also wanted to share some additional resources to deepen your experience and celebration of Passover this year. If you enjoy studying text, check out “The Long Redemption,” a Pesach reader published by the Hadar Institute. In this magazine you will find text studies, divrei torah, articles and questions prompts for people of all ages and skill levels. You can order or download the entire publication for free or download selections a la carte that interest you the most. https://www.hadar.org/torah-resource/pesach-reader-5782

Looking for some musical inspiration? Check out this version of Chad Gadya from Jewish musician Shulem Lemmer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdwTuToxW9s You can learn more about Shulem and his music by visiting his website: https://www.iamshulem.com/music

Need a reminder of the order of the seder? Invite the Maccabeats to cozy up to your seder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fg2JJPyzkJQ&t=1s Interested in purchasing matzah pajamas for your family? Visit Midrash manicures for matzah pj’s and lots of holiday swag: https://midrashmanicures.com/product/matza-pajamas/

Chag Pesach Sameach!

Rabbi Roni Handler

 

Sun, June 26 2022 27 Sivan 5782