Saturday, April 7, 2007

Freedom Seder

I've been back from Canada for a few days, but immensely busy. I have closed on four of the 14 books I had offers on (which means we have come to an agreement on the contract terms) and am still negotiating the rest. Since we are now knee-deep in the Passover/Easter holidays, quite a few of the editors are out of the office until next week.

And I am too. I actually close my office and go to Church on Good Friday. Since my mother is a minister and has worked on Easter Sunday for most of my life, I have been cooking and serving the leg of lamb for over 2 decades. A few years ago, I realized that it's just impossible to serve dinner for 12 on Sunday and then work full steam ahead on Monday, so I close the office on Easter Monday too, just to give myself a day to catch my breath.

This year, one of my clients invited me and my son to her home for their Seder. My son and I used to share the holidays with another Jewish family when he was much younger, but it's been years since he's been to this kind of religious meal, so I thought it would be good for all of us. She said she didn't follow the traditional readings, but had adapted the Seder to her family.

When I asked what we could bring, she mentioned that she would appreciate it if we would share a story about freedom, but we were not obligated to do so.

What she had done was re-write the Seder service around the theme of freedom, tying the Jewish expulsion from Egypt with slavery and oppression including letters from children about Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Anne Frank. She had about 30 people at the Seder and many of them spoke about their personal experiences with oppression and freedom.

It was quite a inspiring evening, and a terrific sharing experience.


ryan field said...

Sounds like an intertesting Seder, and one your son will remember for the rest of his life. We always cross from one holiday to another without much clarity, but once in a while there's one that stands out from the rest.

Aprilynne Pike said...

Wow, very cool!

I have often wished that Christians had a tradition like Seder (I personally make it to one every year I can). I adore the symbolism and metaphor involved and i am a sucker for traditional rituals. It is usch an incredible experience even if you are not Jewish and I would encourage anyone (Christian, Jewish, Bhuddist, Aetheist) to someday find the opportunity to attend one.

Anonymous said...

Sounds wonderful...also sounds like it would have made an amazing thing to read if anybody had recorded it. best wishes from libby-jane

LJ Charleston said...

The Seder service sounds amazing...imagine what a great book it would make if somebody has taped it, transcribed it and put it together..its something id love to read!

Spencer Ellsworth said...

Sounds cool. I am always fascinated by other people's religious experiences because my Mormon upbringing was somewhat closed-off. Not all Mormons do this, but there is a tendency to say, "We're the right religion, so don't bother with all the wrong ones."

If I had been smart, I would have discussed Judaism with Gordon Van Gelder at NorWesCon, since he brought it up. Instead, all I could do was stare, drool and say, "I looooove your magazine."

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