I hope that everyone is okay after the storm. I know that many people were affected by the storm; some people had trouble driving, some people lost power, some people were stuck inside their homes for a few days. If there is anything we can do for anyone, please be in touch with me or the TJC office.
I encourage you to join us this Shabbat. It is always good to come together after a storm like this. Also we have many exciting things happening including a wonderful Bar Mitzvah, a Cantorial candidate who is under consideration, Cantor Jeff Warschauer, and our Soferet (Torah Scribe), Linda Coppleson, who will be speaking after Shabbat lunch about our Torah Repair Project.
I remember as a kid thinking it was a big deal when we had snow before Halloween. This year I realized that we had this big storm after Purim which means Passover will be here in a few short weeks, are we are still digging out from all of this snow. Sitting at home during the storm gave me time to go through our Passover materials and to begin to think about what new ideas I want to bring to our family Seder this year. That is always my goal; to find something new, to find or create a new activity, to research a new topic to discuss or perhaps even search for a new recipe for the meal. While Passover is all about following traditions and retelling an ancient story, I always encourage people to do something new, create a new tradition or find a new activity for the Seder.
One of the best ways to do so is to search for a Haggadah that is not the one we are used to from the past. I know that many people like to use same Haggadah from years past but others like me, look for new essays to share, new activities to do or perhaps even new art work that can spark some good conversations around the table. One of my dreams is to have a Seder where everyone around the table has a different Haggadah so that everyone can incorporate the themes of their text, the pictures in the book or the questions that every text asks. This year, I know that new Haggadah that I am going to purchase. It is the one created by our very own, Shoshana Silberman and combines Shoshana's written material with the incredible art work of Mordecai Rosenstein. Many of us are familiar with Shoshana's A Family Haggadah and I know that many TJC families use this text as their Haggadah at the Seder. This new Haggadah, The Rosenstein Haggadah, will combine Shoshana's commentaries and guide to the Seder with inspiring art. I have a number of prints of Mordecai's art in my office and in my home and I am very excited to see the art he has created for the Haggadah and how it will go together with the Seder text and Shoshana's commentary.
This coming Sunday afternoon, the new Haggadah will be available to us at TJC as Shoshana and Mordecai will both be here to share their perspectives on creating this text. I hope that you will consider joining us at 5 PM or find a way to purchase this new Haggadah so that it can become a valued part of your Seder.
There are many reasons why the Passover Seder is meaningful to us. The Rabbis of old created an experience that is timeless and helps us all think about the main themes of Pesach through our contemporary lens. Our objective is to make the text and the story come alive and to create memories for our children and ourselves. A great text can do that. Inspiring artwork in the Haggadah can do that. Finding new ways to make the Seder entertaining and meaningful every year can be done in many ways. The first step is the right Haggadah. I look forward to seeing this new Haggadah created by Shoshana and Mordecai and learning what it can add to my Seder this year.
I look forward to seeing you on Shabbat and/or on Sunday.
Rabbi Adam Feldman