Chag Pesach Sameach by Candace Naliboff, Director of Member Services

Words I wait all year to say and to hear…Happy Passover. It is the story of our passing from slavery to freedom, but it is much more even than that. It is a family ritual, a gathering of loved ones, a special meal, a reading of our history, a time to eat food we only eat once a year, and a time to celebrate our Judaism.

Here at Temple Beth El, it is a hectic, busy wonderful time full of many seders. We usually kick off Passover with our S.P.I.C.E. Seder – a wonderful group of over 130 seniors who gather together as Jews and as friends. You can hear the happiness and community emanating from the social hall.

Both Brotherhood and Sisterhood have their gender specific seders and they love the exclusivity of just having men or women come together – both had about 85 people celebrating freedom and friendship.

We match people on the first night who have no Seder to attend with those who offer up the extra seats at their table. I love being a part of the matchmaking!

Then we host a second night Seder. A time when people from all over the Jewish community come to our temple to celebrate Passover. For many, it is the only Seder they have, especially if they are new to Charlotte or just traveling through and we hosted over 100 people, congregants and not, from all over.

Maybe the most fun Seder, aside from S.P.IC.E., is our Young Family Seder. This year it was a room of about 150 people, many of whom were small, active, noisy children playing and having the time of their life…and to everyone in the room, it was okay that they made noise and weren’t in their seat. It has become the perfect place for young families to be together and not worry about their children’s screams and laughter.

Passover is, for many Jews, a strong symbol of their culture, their tradition, and their Judaism. For Temple Beth El, it is a special time of our community coming together to celebrate who we are and the importance of saying it, and feeling it, and being it.

I hope you had a zissen Pesach, a sweet Passover – a wonderful saying I learned from my friend, Sue Hummel…and may the rest of your year be sweet too. After all, the High Holidays will be here before we know it!