In Israel, oddly enough, most everyone has somewhere to go for this holiday. And it isn't quite as spectacular as it is in the US, as weekly people head to parents and family to celebrate Shabbat (even if they are not religious, it is a tradition). So, this year is a very small Passover celebration for me. One without my typical brisket or tons of people. However, I still wanted to take a moment to share why it is special to me, and why I keep the holiday.
1. It is a holiday that celebrates the end of oppression. To me, that is important as something to celebrate, but also a goal for the future. In this vein I remember Reverend, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on this holiday, as well as think about my friends from the Department of Justice's Community Relations Service, at Rotary, NewGround, the Olive Tree Initiative, the Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, and those working toward freedom from oppressions due to sexual orientation, the color of one's skin, and one's gender, as well as those at Ikar and UCI working with latino families and workers rights. We are not there yet, but I find so much hope in what you all do and on this holiday, I give you my thanks.
2. It is a holiday that reminds us we are all human and we have all suffered. Not just the Jews. Slavery and the 10 plagues happened and they freed the Jews (according to the story), but we are reminded that death of anyone is not something to be happy about.
3. It is a holiday that values family.
4. It is a holiday that asks us to remember to open our doors (and hearts) to others, including the Elijah and anyone else that needs food, care, and help.
5. It is a time to teach our traditions and values to the next generation by getting them involved and teaching them not just to listen, but to ask hard good questions.
6. It is also a holiday to celebrate. It is spring; there is new growth and the winter (even on the East Coast of the US) is over or almost over. We are here; we have food, family and friends. During this holiday we drink (4) cups of wine, we recline, and we sing. Ok... I don't sing and my family really should not be heard in song, but I have a CD that takes care of that instead.
Below I am including some pictures of my favorite traditions.