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Happy Pasach! - Future Television Writer
July 2006
Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 01:43 am
Happy Pasach!

A passover sedar is an interesting thing among reform jews. It is done out of tradition, and even most of the adults are cracking jokes and laughing during serious parts. We only read up to page 19 in our haggadahs. After a certain point we just give up. I always find that hilarious. Whenever I get a portion of rading (which we do exclusively in enlish, by the way) I make sure to speed through it as though I was reading Sula in the middle of Ms. Ball's english class. Nobody seems to mind that we could be missing major significance. In fact, I think they appreciate my speeding up of the procession. Sometimes the sedar seems more like an excuse to show off my younger cousins' reading skills than a religous experience, which I am totally fine with.

If it were my choice, we wouldn't have a sedar at all. In fact, I've missed two sedars in my lifetime just by telling my mother that I didn't want to go. Recently, I've matured a little and I've been able to swallow it relatively easily. I must add that a sedar among reform jews can happen any time during passover, and not only on the first night. A sedar is adjusted for everyone's convenience, and not the other way around.

I'm not saying this to point out anything that I don't like, but rather to wonder why we ever do it. I suppose it is to hold on to the idea of religion, even if no one there is a true believer. Maybe it's just an excuse for family gatherings. Maybe it's because parents hope that their children will be able to embrace religion in a way that they were never able to. Any of this is possible. Bottom line, though, I'm never sitting through a sedar that reaches page 20.

Current Mood: curious curious


Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 08:52 am (UTC)

I actually really like Pesach. Part of it may be that I get along really well with my cousins and in the years that we can, we get together for the sedars. We all sing and read, but at our kids end of the table we also chatter and tease each other and roll our eyes at the adults.

This year, for the one at my parent's house, my brother ended up leading it, which was fantastic because he made sure we kept going during the parts that my family just cannot seem to do at a normal speed (all the blessing stuff at the very beginning and right before the meal) and asked questions that actually required discussion.

Actually, in a lot of ways, I find that a certain amount of relaxation and comedy at the sedar doesn't keep it from being a religious discussion at all, and the less boring it is, the more likely we are to ask questions. Except for the part where pretty much everything we do at the sedar seems to be so we'll ask questions, which kind of defeats the purpose.

I'm not religious at all; my family is technically conservative and in our more immediate family I'm somehow the 'heathen', I expect because I didn't got to the Jewish high school and my college boyfriend wasn't Jewish. That, and I really just don't bother with any of the rules we're supposed to follow unless I happen to like it. I consider myself a cultural Jew, not a religious Jew.

I'm somewhat amused by your page numbering though; I swear in our Haggadot page 20 is the first glass of wine.

My family does the whole first half, then has dinner/dessert/afikoman, we do the birkat, the wines, and then sing a whole bunch of songs. We usually sit down at 7pm and finish by 10pm, which is probably even shorter than it sounds because our normal Friday night dinner (at which we do the candles/wine/challah but is more a family requirement than a religious requirement) usually takes from 6:30 to 9pm. Plus, the nice thing about having to follow the Haggadot is that we're less likely to get into arguments about politics and other things that make me have to skip dinners when I get way too frustrated.

But overall, I think I'm mostly lucky in that my family really does all get along really well. We have a good time together, and while sometimes it does get stressful to have to spend so much time together (although we didn't end up doing dinner three nights in a row this week since we all just skipped the shabbat dinner) it's not stressful because we don't like each other.

Yeah, sorry, I don't know how you ended up with my ramblings, but I'm hitting reply anyhow.

Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)

Glad to hear that your passover goes over well. Luckily, my family gets along really well, too. If they didn't, I just wouldn't go at all. I don't really dread this holiday as much as I'm bored by all of them. But I think in my family, like in yours, it is more of a family requirement than a religous requirement, and I'm okay with that. I don't know if I could take the three hour sedar, though. Ours is a half hour. I don't know how we even call ourselves Jews. Hehe.

ReplyThread Parent
the keeper of the migrating coconuts
Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC)

It's like being what my friend calls a 'holiday Catholic', where you only go to church on the major holidays (she can't talk though; she recently got tired of being a good church-going Catholic and gave up Jesus for Lent.) My family's religous commitment is pretty much summed up by that term, as we only go Christmas morning. Rather tragic, I suppose, but it's not something that's ever been a big part of our lives.

Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)

(she can't talk though; she recently got tired of being a good church-going Catholic and gave up Jesus for Lent.)

I cracked up at that. Then I wondered, does this mean your friend has to go back to Jesus after lent ends? Or is doing something like this forsaking Jesuss altogether?

And I agree that we're completely holiday Jews. Maybe even less. I mean, I didn't go to temple on Rosh Hashashannah (I just butchered that word) and Yom Kippur, nor did I fast on Yom Kippur. I think we're jews only by the fact that this is what we tell the outside world. "Tell 'Em You're Jewish Jews" we'll call them.

ReplyThread Parent
the keeper of the migrating coconuts
Sat, Apr. 15th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)

Her giving up Jesus for Lent is a joke more than anything else; she said it to drive her father mental, and it makes the rest of us laugh (my friends are all of the 'holiday Catholic' mould, if their families are even religious at all). However, she is only active in church etc. because of her family's influence, and is starting to feel that it means nothing to her. I don't suppose that giving up Jesus for Lent means that she's forsken him forever, but I think she might have finally become a holiday Catholic. *tear* We're so proud of her :)

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