Over the last couple of years, I welcome the Passover Seder with mixed emotions. I relish the joy I find in welcome our community. The visitors to Tahoe and Carson at this time of year bring new faces and stories with them to share in the holiday observance.
Yet, as a rabbi I have found myself tasked with leading Passover Seders (the festive and ritual meal) far from my extended family. Yes, I do welcome this responsibility and even cherish it. Yet, Pesach (the Hebrew for Passover) brings so many wonderful memories of the link between the generations. I recall so many years sitting at our family’s table with my grandfather, may his memory forever be a blessing, seated in the commanding head of the table position guiding our ritual and leading our holiday observance. There are so many great lessons he taught me throughout the year, but at Passover, the lessons about identity and connecting to Judaism were so rich and remain so strong.
The Passover holiday is all about the links between the generations. We retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. We are tasked to recall both the oppression of Egyptian slavery and the sense of freedom in our escape. We are commanded to hear our parents and grandparents tell their stories of Jewish life so that we, too, can pass our own story on in future generations.
There is one unique ritual at Temple Bat Yam: The Jewish Community of South Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley has begun in the last couple years to ensure this link between generations is made. Seder participants are invited to share advice with the next generation. We invite people around the room to share a thought for the future generations of Jews and submit them on a post-it note. Throughout our Seder ritual we then share some of these thoughts with everyone together.
In the past couple years I recall various sentiments shared that range from advice about caring for our bodies and minds to thoughts about charitable giving, and everything in between. When I celebrate Passover and consider my grandfather’s memory, I know that I am carrying on his legacy when our community share our advice and ideas with others. This passing on of our story, our advice and our identity from generation to generation is what Passover is all about.
We welcome anyone to join our Passover Seder. Whether you are Jewish and looking to rekindle your memories of Seders past, or seeking to experience the Jewish ritual of Passover, all are welcome. You can sign up by going to our website at www.tbytahoe.org or calling the Temple office at 530-542-1211. We hope you will join us, to strengthen our link from generation to generation. Our Seder will be April 17 at Harrah’s Convention Center.