by Ariela Zucker
This is a straightforward event. We read a condensed version of the traditional Hagadah: slaves in Egypt, deliverance, forty years in the desert, four cups of wine (fifth one for Elijah), some strange yet symbolic foods and we are ready for the best part. This is the part when each one of us brings their offering, our take on the ancient story, on breaking out of slavery into freedom, on the snow finally receding and spring pressing on in the form of green buds. The first lone peepers, those who preceed the crowd, sing their monotonous song, the full moon, the abundance of food, the bursts of laughter alternating with the somber moments when I insist on reading something serious.
This is the culmination of preparations that start a week, sometimes few weeks before the big night. Inviting people, planning the menu, finding an insightful piece of reading. Then comes the day itself and from early in the morning I am on it.
Passover is a yearly gathering that brings together not only my daughters but a close group of friends, a loyal group that has been following us for the past fifteen years since we arrived in the U.S and introduced our unique way of conducting it. Once a year we get together for few hours, a varied group of people of all ages; the youngest this year, my newest granddaughter, a year old, the oldest one of my daughter’s friend, eighty-five years old grandmother. Every year we welcome some fresh faces, with only one steady request, bring something to read, anything that connects you to this holiday.
I often reflect on the traditional event, while still in my parents’ home, how I couldn’t wait for it to end. Then I look at my daughters who will not miss it for anything, who proudly invite their friends of all religions. I take a deep breath, I know that what have started as a seed, is now a resilient tree, that hopefully will endure.
Ariela Zucker was born in Israel. She and her husband left sixteen years ago and now reside Ellsworth Maine where they run a Mom and Pop motel.