What Would The Uncles Think?

On the first night of Pesach, every year, my parents hosted a small family Seder. When I was young, the guests were always the same.  Aside from our immediate family, my grandmother, her best friend, and that friend’s daughter were always there. We read through the Reconstructionist Haggadah by Mordecai Kaplan, in English. I always did the Four Questions and we always opened the door for Elijah.

On the second night, we piled into the car and drove from Long Island to Manhattan to attend the Bloch Family Seder at the Warwick Hotel in NYC. All the relatives were there. Every year, I ran through the halls with my cousins and no one stopped us. This family custom started before I was born, so I have no memory of my great uncles, all born in eastern Europe, leading the Seder, but I do remember my uncle Saul, the last of the uncles to pass away, reciting all the Hebrew. For a child, it was long: first the Hebrew, then the English, then more Hebrew. Oye!

After my Uncle Saul died, the family started adding their own contemporary readings. When the Civil Rights movement was making the headlines, we supported it by incorporating speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr. When the Women’s Movement took over the headlines, speeches by their leaders were included in our family liturgy.

The “tikkun olam” (healing the world) emphasis was a good fit for my family, yet with each new inclusion, each year, I always wondered, “What would the uncles think?” Would they be horrified how much we deviated from the script? Would they look upon us as traitors to our faith? How non-traditional!

Now not only has that entire generation of my great uncles passed away, but the generation of my parents is gone too. This year will be the most unique yet. Many of us will be attending virtual Seders being led online by our Rabbis and leaders. I can’t help but yet again wonder, “What would the uncles think?”

Yet we are still able to gather (even across computer screens) and celebrate freedom and God’s provision. For that, all I can do is say dayenu.

Chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach – have a kosher and joyous Passover!

For more Pesach content, try our Afikomen Hunt Ideas, Dayenu—The Passover Lamb, our Kosher-For-Passover Recipes compilation, or Yeshua, Pesach, and the Virus.

This post was written by MJTI Business Manager Joyce Klayman.

Explore our blog:

A Plea for Humanity

The war in Ukraine has reached the two month mark. Rabbi Klayman reflects on the reasons why we must not let it become the “new normal.”

When Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place…

…step out in the promises of God! MJTI Registrar Rabbi Michael Hillel looks at this week’s parasha, Beshalach.

A Reflection on Divine Authority

Rabbi Michael Hillel shares recent insights from a study on Luke 20:1-8 and how Yeshua’s authority manifests across several Biblical narratives.

The Story Behind the Posner Menorah

Have you seen the iconic photo of a Hanukkah menorah defiantly in the window across from a Nazi flag? Dr. Stan Meyer shares its inspiring story.

Light Over Might

It can be difficult to examine the Hanukkah narrative to understand some of the more challenging elements. This week, Rabbi Saal takes a look.

Vayeshev: The Winding Road to Messiah

How are we supposed to feel in the face of betrayal and disappointment? Rabbi Elliot Klayman breaks down Parasha Vayeshev.

Favor Elevates Its Giver

This week’s parasha sees Jacob reuniting with his estranged brother. What can this unlikely reconciliation show us about our relationships today?

Vayeitzei: The Continuing Journey

The patriarchal narrative continues in this week’s parasha, Vayeitzei (Genesis 28:10 – 32:3). We find Jacob on his way tp Haran, seemingly in an attempt to get away from his justifiably-angry elder twin brother Esau, after Jacob had stolen Esau's blessing from their...

Sholem Asch: Introducing Jews to the Rabbi from Nazareth

November, 1880: Sholem Asch, the Jewish author, was born. Dr. Stan Meyer takes a look at his life and the impact he still has on our world today.

The Path Behind and the Road Ahead: A New Journey

The High Holidays are behind us for another year. We have travelled God’s way in those marathon weeks, and it may be tempting for us to settle back into a comfortable, mindless rhythm until Chanukah starts at the end of November. However, from shofar blowing and...

Pin It on Pinterest