Why This Seder Will Be Different


So what is different about this Seder night than any other? This year that remains to be seen.

This will be my first Seder in my new apartment. Before I moved, I went through all my old stuff, culling what I did not need. But I found some lovely things, gifts from people I have known at different stages of my life: a beautiful square appliqued tablecloth that will serve as a topper for my new round Seder table; a silver bowl from my aunt; a white tablecloth I made for my new table as a gift to myself; I hope to surround myself with these, to give me the sense of being one in a chain of people, surrounded by my artwork and that of some of my children, the physical manifestations my own love and that of many others in my world, secure in the hope that all those I love and many that I do not even know are progressing towards safety. With only myself for company, not so different from any other day, I will need to speak to my inner children at this Seder and have them answer my questions as I ask them.

On all other Seder nights, I am second in command, even when I am hosting, even in my own home, after cleaning, cooking and organizing, I hand over the reins.

On this coming Seder night, the reins will be mine alone.

On all other Seder nights, I have opinions I wish to share, but often the attention spans of those present, or even my own patience to articulate these ideas preclude my doing so.

On this coming Seder night, I can share as much as I wish, however, I will need to hear, listen and discuss these ideas with myself.

On all other Seder nights, I happily choose the foods I make, based on the favorites of those who will be there. On this Seder night, All the choices will be my own.

On all other Seder nights, I have mixed feelings about those who are with me, as there are always some of my loves who cannot be there.

On this Seder night, it will be crystal clear that everyone is where they should be, staying sheltered and safe, healing together as we move through this cloud and try to reach its silver lining.

There is no question that this year is not an easy one. I find myself tearing up, just thinking about some of the aloneness of it, for each of us, particularly those of us who are living completely on our own. At the same time, I think that the sense of adventure, of taking hold of those reins that beckon, have been beckoning for years, if I think about it, owning my Seder, table, food, liturgy and all, may be the gift I was unaware I needed to be given.

Who knows? Time will tell.


Rena Bannett lives in Jerusalem, where she makes art and also works as an English editor, translator and language coach. She sculpts, paints, draws, makes collages in various media and writes, in order to express her views, whether from her perspective as a biologist, a Jewish scholar, a nurturing and independent mother, grandmother, life-partner or feminist, or most fundamentally, as a member of the human race.