JCRC Director's Note

Celebrating Together - Across Communities and Generations

Max Patashnik Headshot

April 14, 2022

About once a generation, holidays of great significance to the Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam fall during April. The convergence of Passover, Easter, and Ramadan this month is special in and of itself, but during these unsettled days, the celebrations’ closeness in time is an opportunity to learn about other traditions, honor them, and strengthen the connections of trust and respect our world so needs right now.

Creating connection is what I look forward to most at Passover. A few evenings from now, many of us will come together for the Seder, to retell the story about our people’s journey toward freedom. There will be a special sweetness to the Seder this year, because for many of us, it will be the first time in a long three years that we will gather, in-person, at the table with our loved ones.

As a baby of the pandemic, this year, at age 2, my daughter Edie will get to experience her first Seder… the first time she will see the ritual foods on the Seder plate, try to recite the Four Questions with her cousin (and a little help from Mom!), hear the retelling of the millennia-old story of our escape from Egypt, eat too much of her aunt’s matzah roca, and—if she’s up for it!—search for the afikomen. We will create new memories and I will get to share our family’s beloved traditions. 

For this next generation, this is an opportunity to reflect, discover answers to old questions and ask new questions to ponder at future Seders. I am looking forward to hearing Edie’s thoughts about the Seder in years to come and learning from her questions and observations. There will always be a lot to talk about, because the journey to freedom that Passover celebrates is never done. Implicit in this journey is our obligation to work for a just world where all are free, where respect for every person and every people, in all their rich and wonderful diversity, is a given.

On behalf of my Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council colleagues, Chag Pesach Sameach! And for our Christian and Muslim colleagues and friends at this special time, Happy Easter and Ramadan Mubarak! May peace come soon to our world.

Kol tuv,

Max Patashnik
Director of JCRC and Government Affairs