Thoughts on a Jewish Tradition at 60+

Tonight I cooked a Passover dinner. It wasn’t probably the one my grandmother cooked. Back in those days, they really cooked from scratch. They made their own gefilte fish. They plucked their own chickens. Maybe it meant more when you finally sat down to eat.

I bought some of my dishes ready-made from the local Kosher grocery which is housed in a Kroger in Columbus, Ohio.

Jews Celebrating Passover. Lubok, XIXth centur...

Jews Celebrating Passover. Lubok, XIXth century. Русский: Празднование Песаха. Лубок XIX века. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t keep Kosher, so it was just symbolic for me. The generations that preceded me gently nudge me to do what’s right. Get the bread out of my house, eat Matzah, and read the Hagaddah with my family—a book that describe the Jews exodus from Egypt.

My aunt, who cooked us many Kosher Passovers was in attendance. It was at her house, that I first read that Hagaddah with my  growing family. Now, she’s almost 90, and doesn’t have the energy to put on a dinner. Now, she takes a lesser role than in previous years past. Many of the people who attended her Seders are gone. She’s taken good care of herself, and has outlived almost everybody.

I think about the first Passover I remember when I was a little girl. It was at my Aunt Arlene and Uncle Clem’s house. My aunt bought all the little cousins presents. (Her idea, not a Jewish tradition). We had fun at that first Passover, though I remember all the reading being a little too much for a little kid.

Last night there was only one little kid in attendance because there just aren’t many children in my family. He was my great-nephew, and he is six. He started reading the 4 questions in halting English. (He is only starting to read). The youngest child in attendance asks the four questions. In the answers, the child will learn what Passover is all about.

It moved me because it’s a link to my past. I think about my own children reading those words. How I listened carefully, and with pride, because I knew it was a connection to their heritage, and I knew it meant they were growing up.

So, that’s how it is when you’re in your 60’s and starting to think about what traditions and holidays really mean. It’s comforting to have a book where the same story is told year after year. It is comforting to know that the tradition will go on in some way, even when you’re not here anymore.

Do you have any traditions in your religions or family, you’d be willing to share?

Happy Easter to all my friends who celebrate it!


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