There’s something about all holidays that gives us pause and allows us to mark time. We might think about where we are, where we were last year and where we are going. Holidays are often a mix of emotions as we look forward to being with friends and family while missing loved ones who can’t be or aren’t with us.
Passover is truly unique. Gathering around the seder table to tell the story of the holiday and the Israelites escape from Egyptian slavery, is an important, meaningful tradition for Jews. The seder is special. We reflect, ask questions, sing songs and enjoy a beautiful meal. But most of all, this holiday is exceptional because it’s celebrated in the home, around the table, together. Home is sacred, special and to be shared. But for many, home—where it is and the people who fill it— can change year to year, seder to seder.
This was the case for our family when my children were growing up. We moved…a lot. Whether Houston, Memphis, West Orange, Seattle, Richmond, San Francisco and now Chicago, home was (and is) where we made it. That’s why Passover was always of particular significance to us. Some years have been spent with close family, while other seders were filled with the wonderful company of new neighbors and friends. Wherever we were, the traditions of Passover were celebrated. Year after year my kids would act out the story in the Haggadah, just as I had done as a child. And year after year, we gather to celebrate the holiday, to give gratitude for our freedom and to always remember those who cannot worship freely.
As the first seder draws near, it’s a time to reflect on the holiday and power and compassion of our Jewish community as we open our doors and our hearts to one another. Wherever you gather—be it in your own home, with new friends or at one of many wonderful community seders around the area, I hope you will find contentment, connection and peace.
Wishing you a Happy Passover from our JCC family!
CEO, JCC Chicago