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Third Seder

I hope I made my grandmother proud with my Passover seder this year! As a little girl, I watched her search the entire house to sweep up chametz, unpack and replace all with special Pesach dishes, fill even the extra refrigerator in the garage with food to cook for many a family feast, and prepare a beautiful meal with all of the traditional elements before she and my grandpop led us through the whole Haggadah… as we kids nibbled on gluten-ful matzah and dipped too many potatoes in salt water from the red velvet couch, while scanning the room for hints about the afikomen. On Sunday (for my first and perhaps now annual Third Seder!), I returned from the farmers market alone with a bounty and set to work on salads and veggies and plant-based dishes galore, balancing burners and ovens and blenders while checking my list to ensure I didn’t forget to place any necessities on the table. In the heart of the tablescape proudly stood a black and white photograph from our family seder in 1951, alongside my grandmother's beloved stained glass Tzedakah box and new additions, including the seder plate and matzah cover I got in Puerto Rico for the holiday last year. Like my grandmom, an orange proudly took her place on the seder plate, but this time alongside a beet instead of a shankbone, fresh horseradish root, locally grown greens, and egg-shaped natural wax candle at our fully vegan celebration. I laid out veritable matzah art (see earlier photo for proof and future orders!) as appetizers for my guests, organic and whole wheat and gluten-free, though unmistakably unleavened. And then we sat around this sacred table to tell the story, ask the questions, follow the steps, recite the prayers (in English and Hebrew, thanks to our Israelis), carry on the traditions (sometimes with new interpretations), feel both the bitter and the sweet (at the same time in our trusty sammies), sing the songs (occasionally to age old Americana tunes), contemplate modern meaning (with my annotated JewBelong Haggadah as a poignant guide), speak to identity, bless the miracles, remember when we too were strangers in a strange land, let go of that which does not serve, rejoice in blessed gratitude, and proudly affirm our freedom, which eternally compels us to do more not only for our own people, but for all peoples who are not yet free. L'Shana Haba'ah B’Yerushalayim.


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