A Passover Message from Debbie Diamond
Members of the extended Atlanta Jewish community expresses their thoughts about the 2023 Passover holiday, using the prompt, "Unity Creates Community."
Passover is around the corner. We have invited all of our guests and purchased most of the products for the eight days. Jewish holidays come whether we’re ready for them or not. And to be honest, I’m not ready for much of anything at the moment.
You see, we have two senior dogs, both of whom are ill. One is very ill, as in, she was in the hospital for three days and has been on a strict diet and regimen of six or seven pills each day. But Passover will be here on April 5, and we must be prepared. Because, like the game of Hide and Seek, ready or not, here it comes!
My siblings and I each take a holiday to host, and Passover is at my home. We will gather around our dining room table, just as we do every year, and recount the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt. We will take turns reading about the discussions between our rabbinic sages, Rabbi Yosi the Galilean, Rabbi Eliezer, and Rabbi Akiva, and we will recite Dayenu in unison. My husband will point out all the items on the Seder plate, and we will partake of the parsley dipped in salt water, the charoseth and then make Hillel sandwiches. There will likely be rumblings among the crowd about how much longer the seder will run and when we are going to eat. Yes, I know my people!
After the first part of the Haggadah is read, we’ll eat fish (Moroccan or gefilte), Moroccan salads, matzo ball soup, brisket, roasted chicken, potatoes, carrots, a green vegetable, and the incredible banana chocolate cake my sister-in-law makes each year. We will then make our way to the family room and have coffee as we finish our seder.
I realize we have the same routine every year. After all, are we not mandated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt each Passover as though we personally went through it? Our group recites the same prayers, sings the same songs, and eats the same recipes that have been passed down from generations. Most Jewish families I know do the same!
And yet, rather than being bored with the predictability of each Passover gathering, I frankly love knowing what to expect. Celebrating with family and friends brings warmth and life to a home. Maybe this is all part of G-d’s plan. Regardless of what is happening in our lives, we pause, pray, celebrate, or commemorate. For a time, all of our daily challenges are placed on hold, and we are able to simply experience the beautiful spirit of the holiday and time with our loved ones. Our parents and grandparents shared these traditions with us, and we will pass them along to our own children and grandchildren, hoping the cycle never ends and feeling fortunate we are able to do it year after year.
These snapshots in time, particularly during holidays, make the ordinary extraordinary. Memories — built over time and unique to each family — add meaning to our lives. Perhaps it is in these precious moments that our lives are enriched with holiness.
Wishing you a happy and meaningful Passover, friends. And as we read at the end of the seder every Passover, next year in Yerushalayim!
Debbie Diamond is a contributing writer for the Atlanta Jewish Times.