|Credit: Joshua Bousel/flickr
The Passover story is the primary story in Jewish history, and one that Jews retell in short form at every prayer service in the words "…God, who freed us from Egyptian bondage…" Passover is an occasion to retell the whole story. But telling the story is not enough.
Passover is a holiday that the Jewish community has used, throughout the centuries, to remind us of our heritage of freeing others because we were freed. It is the "slavery to freedom"’ theme that is central to our command to be more than simply good people, but to be people who pursue justice for others.
Along with an end to slavery, in the literal sense, Passover also has the power to teach us about other types of liberation. We might focus on warfare, on poverty, on healthcare systems, on homelessness, on bigotry, on abuse in the home and a whole host of other issues important in a world of creating and restoring justice. A wonderful non-profit organization called American Jewish World Service (AJWS) offers free Passover resources that connect the Exodus story and its moral mandate to current events, raising our awareness of those who still suffer in bondage, and offering ideas for how we can try to help these people. More about that here.
Passover is also a story about journeys. Therefore it might be a time to tell our spiritual journeys to each other. We might help each other by discussing and attempting to solve problems that have been plaguing us (pun intended) for weeks or months. And each of the Passover foods that tell the Exodus story also helps us to tell our current stories.
Regardless of the themes chosen, by any particular seder
gathering, conversation and supportive argument is key to a successful Passover meal. While some homes don’t choose this path, it is customary in traditional Jewish homes.
The Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families is also available in PDF