President’s Post – April 2019

Passover: A Recent Family Tradition

Eric Imley & Gale Swartz, Co-Presidents

One of our families, the Imley family, took a more progressive approach where we utilize less of a traditional Haggadah. We do use select themes, songs, and liturgy and then we add our spin to the Haggadah. Did the seder get any faster you ask? Not exactly, instead we challenged ourselves to look at the oppression around the globe and around the neighborhood. This reflection of Passover has always been present but never in this stark manner. This year we will gather again, and similarly, I imagine Had Gad Yad, and the plagues will not be at the centerpiece of our service. Alternatively, we will review our volunteerism and the charitable work we have committed to support for another year financially. It is far from a one-way street where everyone speaks to a silent audience.

On the contrary, we listen deeply and examine ideas about how we can jump in and help each other. It not only helps the person flush out their ideas. It also makes way for our seder group of family and friends to explore more ways to engage in activities together.

Bringing the generations together to work on shared projects for acts of tikkun olam is the centerpiece of our seder. Whether it’s Lillian and Tracy trying to figure out how to get more blood glucose monitors to Jamaica. Or our cousins trying to make sure the girl’s leadership empowerment is a growing part of their community in Oakland. We discuss little at this meal other than ways we can help each other make the world a better place.

These adaptations to Jewish traditions are one way we are hoping to keep our culture relevant to future generations. Woven into the fabric of this seder are our stories from over 100 years of Pesah in Los Angeles. Funny things those who came before us did, and stories we would hear from our grandparents every year. From taking the hametz to the food pantry to inviting non-Jews to celebrate Pesah this combination of intermittently looking back and forward feels like a natural progression that we have slowly adapted to and one I am sure our ancestors would be proud of.

Are we asking you to make a drastic change to your tradition? No, we’re not even asking you to make a small one. But at this time of year take a moment to think about how you can re-commit to making the world a better place. TBE is a great place to start this process, whether it’s giving financially or with your time or both; the survival of our community is based on your generosity. Please get involved either at TBE or with a cause that speaks to you, or better yet both. We are always looking for help, so feel free to grab either of us the next time we see you. We will try and make your generosity rewarded with both fun and a beautiful sense of tzedakah.