For the past several years, Goldfarb and I have spent the first night of Passover with our friends Katie and Joe. We feel so blessed to be included in the seder dinner they share with family and friends. Last night, as we made our way to their home before sundown, I was a little sad. Absent from the gathering this year would be Sylvia and Jack, Joe’s aunt and uncle who both passed away in the last twelve months. But then I thought about the first time meeting them both, how much they loved each other and how sad Jack was after Sylvia’s death. They are now together and I know they were watching over us last night. And I’m sure Jack leaned over to Sylvia after looking at me and asked her, “who’s that girl?” as he so cutely did every year after I’d enter the house. There are many things about the Jewish religion that intrigue me. I love many of their traditions. One that I like the most happens during weddings – the wedding procession includes the bridal party and the bride and groom’s the immediate family. And both the mother and father walk their daughter down the aisle. There is such an added emphasis on family, as it should be. Passover is a time to remember and celebrate the exodus from Egypt. It is a time to celebrate freedom, think about the freedoms that have not yet been realized and reflect about the things in our own personal lives that hold us back. This year we read some different parts of the Haggadah. The people we share Passover with bring a wealth of information, insight and history to the evening which makes the night even more special. I enjoy the discussions we have while reading from the Haggadah.
It’s Holy Week in the Catholic church and for the first time ever I am going to to attend a few evening masses, mainly because I am interested to see how different they are from regular services and because they are rich in tradition. I’m especially looking forward to Saturday’s Easter Vigil which starts after sundown with a fire in the parish parking lot from which the Paschal candle will be lit. All those attending then light their candles from it and process into the church which will be lit only by candlelight. It will be a service filled with scripture and song, culminating with the baptism of new members and candidates for communion receiving the Eucharist for the first time. What a special way to celebrate the resurrection.