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Contemporary Voices

Passover and its traditions and significance through the eyes of contemporary writers...

Matzah Crumbs in Siberia
The day before Passover, Father, a widower, had to go to work, and we three children waited out the long day in our Siberian home—a shack devoid of heat, running water, and food.
How We Baked Matzah in a Nazi Labor Camp
Here is Moshe Friedman’s account of the amazing turn of events that afforded them the ability to observe the Festival of Freedom amidst abysmal suffering and death.
They Never Made it to the Seder...
The sun was about to set, and they were still almost 100 kilometers away from their destination.
Opening the Door for Elijah
On that memorable Seder night, just as my father indicated that it was time to open the front door, the doorbell actually rang!
Sascha and the
When it was time to burn the chametz, Ruth went to the kitchen table and took the remaining brown paper bag. Much to her horror, there were no chametz pieces inside, only Sascha’s lunch!
Passover in Ukraine
A few days before Pesach 2011, I was part of a group of 30 yeshivah students who arrived at JFK Airport en route to Ukraine.
I work 12 to 14 hours a day. I have even less time than money. My obligations to family, work, and community are greater than any time in my life. Yet I have never been more free
Four Boxes of Matzah
"Why," pondered the sad little accountant, "couldn't I get into a government refund loop, instead of a Shmurah Matzah loop? Just my mazel," he said to himself, "everyone else gets money when there is a mistake, I get Matzah."
The Three Visits of Elijah the Prophet
At the conclusion of the seder meal, the cup of Elijah was filled and my six year old son, candle in hand, was sent to open the front door, an old fashioned, ponderous wooden structure that was secured with a heavy iron latch...
An Easy Life
The thought first occurred to me in the throes of pre-Passover cleaning: What an incredibly easy religion. I don't say it aloud; to do so would elicit hostile stares from all the exhausted people in the room
My Pesach Story
a Letter from Jerusalem
The philosophical conclusion of quantum physics is that physical reality is determined by a human observer. Halachah (Torah law) requires me to check every corner of my home for pretzel crumbs. Corrective observation
Aluminum Foil
Passover cannot be known from the prayers recited in synagogue, nor from Four Questions or sweet wine or even the Maxwell House Haggadah. Passover can’t even be known from Passover.
We live with the faith of those who lived before us... in between bites
A Fresh Beginning
A Lesson From Passover
I try to think back to yesterday, and in my tired, hazy, sleep-deprived state, a funny thing happens. I remember nothing. There is no yesterday . . .
Mission Almost Impossible
Cleaning for Passover with Young Children
I think if there is anything more nerve-racking than cleaning for Passover, it is cleaning for Passover with small children . . .
Soul Scrubbing
A Passover lesson
So here I am scrubbing and scrubbing. I’ve got my soul on my mind. And I’m talking to myself. I’m saying, “Mimi, scrub it away.”
The Soviet General
Misha is still sullen, taciturn and lost in thought. A life spent as an officer in the Soviet army has left him numb to ritual. Yet something drew him to this place . . .
A Matzah and a Dream
An old, life-weary man came to the door with tears streaming down his face. Before exchanging any words, the old man strangely poked and prodded our arms. "I can't believe it!" he muttered...
My Sweet, Alone Passover
The decision seemed like a no-brainer, but I didn't go with my brain on this one. I went with my gut. If I was truly to "put Judaism first," I needed to be with my mother; I needed to honor her. For the first time in my life, I made all the seder preparations and drove to Philadelphia, shank bone in tow...
Nana Ruth, Passover and the Flowers That Kept on Coming
Each time she came for the Seder, I would breathe deeply, wondering why she came back.
A Disorderly (and Very Fulfilling) Passover Seder
"All my visions of the “perfect seder” had been dashed."
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