Passover

A Passover Reflection

“Next year, may we be free.”  - Passover Haggadah

The holiday of Passover, “the season of our liberation,” celebrates the departure of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. This is a central theme of the Passover Seder, a festive meal replete with symbolism and song.

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An Empty Chair at the Seder

by Rabbi Joe Ozarowski, D.Min., BCC
Rabbinic Counselor and Chaplain, JCFS Chicago

The Hebrew word “Seder” means order. The Seder evening and Hagada have a framework—a time for talking, a time for ritual foods, a time for dinner, a time for praising God, a time for singing, a time for engaging children, a time for questions and a time to think about possible answers. But the order of the Seder also refers to the non-ritual aspects of the evening. We often have a routine of who comes, who we might invite, where we sit, how we arrange the table, and more. These things can change from year to year, yet they are always present in some form. But what happens when the order is upended? What challenges the sense of order when a loved one who has been a part of our sacred evening is no longer with us. Where is the “seder”—the order—when the Seder has been changed, the order ripped away from us?

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