It’s hard to believe, but it’s nearly time for Pesach (Passover) again. Passover is the festival that is most familiar to me, owing to the fact that my school had an annual Passover assembly, complete with the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, a song about the 10 plagues, and a lunch of apple juice, matzah and eggs afterwards.
As an adult, I appreciate the rituals of Passover – the selling of chametz (leavened products), the songs, the seder. Last year, I settled for avoiding eating chametz (but still eating kitniyot, which the Sephardic Jews eat, but Ashkenazi Jews avoid, including rice, beans and corn) and attending a seder. This year however, as my first Jewish Passover, I felt I ought to do more. So the matzah has been bought, and is being stored on a chametz-free shelf. I plan on boxing and selling my chametz to my roommates for the duration of Passover for the princely sum of a quarter. And most importantly of all, I’m leading a seder.
I’m nervous about this, because I’ve never done it before, but as the time grows closer, I’m getting excited. The menu has been planned, and now I’m indulging in a truly librarian-friendly activity, creating my own haggadah, the text that tells the story of Passover. Jews have been fans of the idea of collaborating and recreating materials for centuries, because there are dozens and dozens of haggadot to choose from, but now it’s time to kick it up a notch. My basic template has come from a local Jewish organization, but I’m locating clips online at haggadot.com to add in, and also using a lovely collaborative one put together by the Velveteen Rabbi.
It might not be the most traditional way of doing things, but it’s certainly the most personal. I feel empowered and in control of my observance, and I’m finding new richness in being immersed in the process of actually writing, rewriting, and editing my haggadah in progress. It’s a win-win situation as far as I’m concerned.