Chana Shapiro

Chana Shapiro

Chana Shapiro shares her Passover thoughts with you.

Chana Shapiro is an educator, writer, editor and illustrator whose work has appeared in journals, newspapers and magazines. She is a regular contributor to the AJT.

A Different Kind of Seder: A Table for Two

For the first time in our lives, my husband, Zvi, and I will sit together at our seder without family and friends.

As newlyweds in New York, we hosted my husband’s extended family for both seders.  None of the others kept kosher, so, as the sole chefs and haggadah leaders, my husband and I worked very hard. That first seder, after non-stop shopping, cleaning and cooking, I passed out (really, I passed out!) after serving the soup, but my husband and guests resolutely carried on. Thankfully, the second seder was perfect. We hosted Zvi’s family seders for several years and loved it.

After we had children, we traveled to St. Louis to be with my family. It was wonderful to relive the beautiful seders of my youth. My parents, aunts and uncles did all the work, and we arrived from Atlanta just in time to set the table and arrange the seder plate. During Pesach week, we had fun reconnecting, cooking and sightseeing while our daughters learned family lore and basked in unmeasured love.

Eventually, we again became seder hosts. In Atlanta, there were more friends than family, however, the mix of backgrounds, accents and cultures enriched every moment. These Atlanta seders have been the vehicle for creating memories and sharing practices and values. Our daughters will have an opportunity to access those values and practices this year. They will be home with their own families, hosting their own seders.

We’ll miss our children and grandchildren, but we also welcome this new experience. Zvi and I will read the haggadah, dine and sing, and finally, together, leave Egypt. We pray that all of us will be spared from this plague so that we can understand a new kind of freedom.

Chana Shapiro is a teacher, author, illustrator, and AJT columnist.

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