One end of the table, first-night seder.
Mrs. Fausto and I were invited to celebrate the Passover seder last Friday with the family of one of our daughter Faustoette's friends. I was delighted to learn that the friend's aunt, who presided over the seder, was Reb Rachel Barenblat -- better known in the liberal religious blogosphere as The Velveteen Rabbi!
...Throughout last Friday's seder, Rachel repeatedly drew the figures and tropes of the old Exodus tale forward into the present: Who is your Pharaoh? How are you a Pharaoh to others? What chains bind you? How do you, intentionally or not, forge chains that bind others? How will you break those chains and wander toward the Promised Land in the coming year, and with whom will you make your journey? Next year in Jerusalem! -- indeed, but where is your Jerusalem, and who will be there with you?
Frog plague puppet, foreground; me, background. Photo by Len Radin.
Local Jews recounted the story of their ancestors' liberation from slavery more than 2,000 years ago and reflected on strides they have made toward their own freedom during a community Second Night Seder on Saturday.
...During the community seder, which contains 15 steps, participants were asked to share the ways they had been liberated from bondage over the past year and how they hoped to bring themselves closer to their place of freedom in the present year.
It was lovely to celebrate the first two nights of Pesach with two such wonderful groups of people -- first my sister and her family and some of their friends, and then members of my community and my nuclear family and in-laws and a variety of community seder visitors. Moadim l'simcha to all -- wishing all of you a joyful remainder of the festival!