Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The Annual Passover Seder. . .

Last night was our annual Passover Seder. It was average size this year with 27 people joining us. It wasn’t close to the record 54 of 2 years ago. (That is not likely to happen.) It was the usual eclectic mix of people; neighbors, friends from many of our worlds, Alicia and Seth’s friends, Bill's old college friends who have been joining us since the late 1980's, even a Methodist minister who has now been with us on the first night of Passover for 4 years. I believe this year a majority of the participants were actually Jewish. Often that is not the case. The ecumenical nature of our seder helps make it very special. After all, freedom is a universal value that crosses all religions, races and ethnicities.

Large seders were a tradition in Donna’s family. Each year now as we remove furniture from our living room to free up space for additional tables and chairs, I think back to the seders at the Brenners when I first got to know them in the early 1980s. The one difference is that their seders were mostly family members, often distant cousins who happened to be in town and no one had seen in decades. Ours, outside of immediate family, are attended mostly by friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

The seder service and discussion were relatively short, as is usually the case. Alicia introduced some new elements as she often does. The food was incredible; Donna’s chicken soup with matzoh balls was the best in memory.

There was just one problem; that also seemed like a family tradition. The kitchen sink backed up. It only seems to happen when there are numerous guests present enjoying a multi-course meal. So dishes were washed in the bathroom sink and it did little to dampen the joyous spirit.

None of these seders would occur if not for Donna’s incredible work for weeks before the event. My role generally has been to help move and setup furniture and my natural propensity to complain about the grocery bills. It seems that every year after the guests are gone, we claim that this is the last year of such a massive effort. But then the next year rolls around and planning, invitations, food prepartion, and furniture moving begain once again.

I’m sure this is what Tevye meant by TRADITION!

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