Adjusting to a new Seder normal


To the editor:

Last year we Zoomed a Seder. It felt sad and unrewarding for me.

This year, we had a few vaccinated friends come for the Seder. It was a wonderful “enough.” This year is different from all others. We have come to understand all the years will be different. We hope all the plagues pass over our house, over all the houses in the world, and disappear into oblivion.

We have done enough reclining. We left our door ajar, cautiously, so Elijah could come, and after him or her, the messiah. Usually we leave it open, saying, “I hope my mother comes,” my mother, dead now more than 15 years.

Yes, Seders are different, and they will be as they were for 3,000 years. No stuffed cabbage. No strawberry shortcake with matzah meal from mom. No little children asking four or more questions. No big “children” lounging on the sofa during the long traditional meal.

Who would have thought it? But it was better than we hoped. This time, the Jewish friends did not go to their families. They came to us. One brought her soup and the charoset. One brought spring vegetables. Another, dessert.

They shared their points of view and family stories. A 70-year-old read the “four questions.” They hadn’t heard our often-told stories about our ancestors. They hadn’t seen the photo of my great-grandfather leading the Seder, my mother about 5. I met everyone in that photo.

They didn’t know my husband’s story of how his mother took the Normandy ship and met his father in Poland just before the war. I hadn’t heard their stories of their families. And they hadn’t shared our rendition of this annual Seder.

Next year in the Bronx, we hope. Again. Next year, more people? Maybe our children, and big hugs and kisses? That certainly would be enough.

Happy holiday, Passover, Easter, spring.

Judith Veder

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Judith Veder,