When we sit down at the Seder table, our tradition compels us to be in four places at once, with our hearts and minds, if not our feet. First, we are in the desert, with our ancestors, during our nation's foundational moment [whether historical or mythic], the Exodus from Egypt. Next, we are in the 2nd century CE, in Roman dominated Judea. After all, the Seder is, culturally, a Roman style meal. Moreover, the Sages we meet in the
Haggadah - Rabbis Akiba, Tarfon, Eliezer, Joshua, and Elazar ben Azaria - inhabited that time and locale. Third, we are in the here and now..."In every generation...." Finally, we are looking forward, toward a horizon of hope, to a more ideal circumstance, traditionally, a time of redemption, the Messianic era. The Seder liturgy is replete with such aspirational moments. The
Ha Lachma Anya recitation which commences
Magid, asserts; "this year we are slaves, next year, we are free...." We drink the third cup, the "cup of blessing," and then open the door for Elijah, who is meant to usher in a utopia. We sing
Adir Hu, whose chorus points us to the building of the Third Temple. We conclude the Seder with the words "Next Year in Jerusalem." Contemporary rituals and symbols extend the hopeful tenor. Growing up, we were conscious of the plight of the Soviet Jewish refuseniks, praying that they would be redeemed from their own bondage, an outcome that was happily realized in our time. Some place oranges on their Seder plates, embodying the conviction that women, or those who identify as LGBTQ, should be accorded respect and equality.
This, the year of the pandemic, when we face Seders of social distancing and virtual connection ---
What are our aspirations?
What new and creative objects will grace our Seder plates?
How do we complete the sentence "Next Year___________________"?
How can we bring hope to our Seders?
After Passover, we at Synagogue Council will be back to business -- Precautions, Webinars, Resources, and we will ask for your support. For now we simply call for your reflections and request that you send us your answers to any or all of the 4 questions highlighted above. Please reply directly to this email bulletin or submit your response through our website
Chag Pesach Bari veSameach Wishing you a healthy and happy Passover
David Bernat -- on behalf of SCM's staff and volunteer leadership
Gretchen Marks Brandt, Associate Director
Emma Savitz, Office Administrator
Elizabeth Pressman, Craig Schneider, Co-Presidents