Twenty-seven people. Twenty-seven. Including the two rabbis.
- Is it because our Reform folks have never been in the habit of attending shul on the seventh day of Pesach?
- Is it because they don’t know that the seventh day of Pesach is a chag?
- Is it because they’ve been doing so much “Jewish” that the idea of one more thing is just beyond their threshold?
By-and-large, we have good attendance at our services. Our sanctuary is near-capacity most Shabbatot. And it isn’t that I need to have people in the pews.
I believe that our ritual observances have purpose. And that our very lives are enriched by participating in those activities. Passover begins with a great deal of anticipation. The weeks leading up to the holiday are filled with cleaning, shelf-lining, packing up dished, unpacking Pesach dishes, cooking, baking, etc. The search for, and eradication of, chametz. A day of fasting (for first-borns). And then, with great majesty, the weeklong festival commences with an elaborate, scripted feast. Or two. (Or even three!)
A holiday devoted to the retelling of our ancestors’ flight from enslavement. Our flight from enslavement. In order to avoid an anticlimactic dénouement, God instructs us to set aside the final day of Passover as holy. A day to refrain from our normal activities. In addition to the special Festival liturgy, our Sages, in their wisdom, named Passover as one of the four times a year to recite Yizkor. In some ways, it makes the most sense to formally remember those whose absence is keenly felt during this family-oriented holiday.
For twenty-seven of us, Sunday night was a remarkably beautiful and moving experience. As we stood and listened to our Song of Freedom.