Passover begins tonight at sunset. Passover is among the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays in North America, and the vast majority of those in the Jewish community will attend a seder, or ritual meal, some time during the holiday. However, Jews are not alone in celebrating Passover anymore. Because of intermarriage and conversion, because of the entry of Judaism into the marketplace of American ideas, and because we live our lives well-integrated with our neighbors, there are many people of other backgrounds who will be attending, and even planning, Passover seders this year.
The holiday of Passover is about communal memory. In the Bible, the Israelites are instructed to remember that God brought them out of Egypt. Part of this “remembering” is through the way in which Passover and seder rituals are handed down through families from generation to generation. A family’s seder may feature different songs, different haggadot (the written guide to the seder), and a different traditional menu, but they will share the experience nonetheless.