A Passover Message from Chana Shapiro

A Passover Message from Chana Shapiro

For our Passover holiday issue, we invited members of our community to share their responses.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

Chana Shapiro
Chana Shapiro

The Home-Centered Jewish Holiday

What I like best about Pesach is that it’s a home-centered holiday. We sit around the table with friends and family to collectively retell the story of our exodus from Egypt and our journey as the Jewish people.

At the Haggadah’s end, we sing cleverly metaphorical and erudite songs. We’re even given prompts along the way to help us think and talk about the Pesach messages. The symbolic items on the seder plate, the four questions, descriptions of the four sons, the four cups of wine, the matzot, the afikomen, anecdotes about our sages, and singing “Dayenu” — which recounts the heavenly gifts for which we should be thankful — all serve to guide us. The Haggadah is a pedagogical masterpiece, and it’s meant to be read aloud, an auditory aid to learning.

The communality of the seder is key. It’s a fact that a Jew may find oneself in any synagogue anywhere in the world on a Shabbat or holy day and fully participate in the service. So why is so much emphasis given on Pesach to sit as part of an intentional group, to read, eat, discuss, and sing around a table, in a home? It’s worth mentioning — and statistics verify this — that the Passover seder is a Jew’s most remembered Jewish experience. Let’s be especially mindful this year; let’s use the seder to create lasting memories of spirited Haggadah — reading, great discussions, a delicious meal, and joyous singing!

Our family wishes you a happy Pesach and a memorable seder!

Chana Shapiro is an author, illustrator, and regular contributor to the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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