A tiny taste of 70 faces at the National Cathedral
Three melodies for the Order of the Seder

Preparing for the season that's coming

Erika at Black, Gay, and Jewish mentioned in a post yesterday that there are 25 days until Pesach. 25 days! That doesn't sound like very long. Maybe this is a good time to remind y'all that if you're still searching for a haggadah, the Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach is available as a free download. Read all about it: Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach 7.2 (2012, 48 pages, abridged from last year's long version though a few improvements have been made and a few new things added) and Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach 7.1 (2011, 84 pages.)

People have graciously said some very kind things about my haggadah: "I was blown away by the insights and freshness that I found in your haggadah" (Tony) and "I am in the process of converting, and I have struggled to find a haggadah that reflects not only my Judaism, but my feminism and my politics. This is finally one that I can share with my family as I lead my own seder for the first time. Thank you for offering the world this method of telling the story of our freedom" (Natalie) and "I used your haggadah as my foundation for leading the second seder for my family... They told me afterwards it was the most meaningful seder they had ever attended -- actually they told me it was the FIRST meaningful seder they had ever attended" (Rhonda.) I hope that if you use it, it helps you connect with Pesach in deep and meaningful ways.

I've been putting a lot of energy lately into preparing for what comes after Pesach: the Counting of the Omer. For years I've toyed with the idea of trying to post something -- a thought, a teaching, a blessing -- relating to each day of the Omer count. Now that I'm blessed to serve as a congregational rabbi, I found my desire to make the Omer meaningful for people (maybe especially people who don't usually think in terms of counting the Omer each night during that holy seven-week span) even stronger. So I seized that desire and ran with it.

This year I'm actually going to manage it, and I'll be sharing those daily postings at the From the Rabbi blog which I maintain for my shul. The trick, I've realized, is to queue up the postings before the Omer begins, so that once we're in the Omer count, I can let each day's unique combination of divine qualities wash over me instead of fretting about whether or not I've posted anything today. I've been working on these for weeks, and they're finally complete. I'm looking forward to the first post going live, on the evening of the first full day of Pesach, as we approach sundown and prepare to begin Counting the Omer. Anyway, I'll post more about those here soon, including instructions on how to subscribe just to the Omer posts on that blog.

What else can I tell you? It's an overcast morning here, cool and grey. Purim already feels a long way distant. Pesach approaches, inexorably. Spring is on the way.