Surveys of the American Jewish Community year after year conclude that Passover—Pesah , is the most observed Jewish ritual. Even a ninety year old can remember at least one memorable Seder. Why? Passover is traditionally a home celebration full of stories, good food, colorful characters, miracles, songs and symbolism and of course, matzah. As Jews, we keep this 3,000 year old festival alive by making meaningful connections learned from that event. The story, commemorating our redemption from slavery, the exodus, and freedom, whether read from the Maxwell House Haggadah or the Different Night Haggadah, has lessons that we can relate to today.
We have witnessed and participated in the freedom of Jews from the former Soviet Union.We have witnessed the ingathering of our Ethiopian brethren into Israel. Freedom is powerful and worth fighting for in each generation. We use the lessons from the Seder to make this a better world.
But how do we pass these ideas on to the next generation? Former Young Judaean and now Israeli entrepreneur, Yossi Abramowitz and his talented wife Rabbi Susan Silverman started a new family Pesach tradition while living in Newton, Massachusetts, although they now live on Kibbutz Ketura with their family, in the heart of the Negev. To enhance the theme of freedom at their Seder, the Abramowitz family came up with the idea of raising caterpillars into butterflies and releasing them on the first night of Passover.
“A butterfly goes through a metamorphosis as it changes from a caterpillar,
(Silverman) explains. The Jewish people also went through a transformation on
Pesach: They were changed from slaves to a free people.”
The children in the family raised the caterpillars into chrysalides (cocoons) and then into butterflies. The butterflies were released with “outstretched” arms before the Seder. This creative hands on activity could be further enhanced with poems, discussions and new songs.
In many ways, Hadassah’s cocoon was Young Judaea. We took it under our wing, nurtured it to maturity, gave it its wings and released it to fly on its own. Today we proudly note Young Judaea’s accomplishments, thankful for the Zionist leaders it has produced, and continue to support its mission! Abramowitz credits Hadassah, “My Jewish education, bolstered by Young Judaea, camps and Israel programs, sparked several decades of serving the Jewish people in the nonprofit realm…I was a scholarship kid growing up and am grateful for the assistance I received from the community and Hadassah.”
Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav wrote that the “Exodus from Egypt takes place in every person and in all ages, every year and even every day.” May this Passover be an exciting and memorable one for you and those you love.
Hag Pesah Sameah!
Cathy Olswing, President
Impact a Life – Impact the Future
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