Thursday, April 13, 2006

Awesome Passover Seder in Berkeley

Tonight was totally wild. I just got back from a crazy 5 hour Seder in Berkeley and it was great. It was run by the Berkeley Chabad and it was fantastic - noisy, people running around, everyone talking at the same time, everyone drinking up a storm and celebrating... man it was intense. Good times!!

As is the usual at religious Jewish seders such as this one, there is pretty much a requirement that each person drink at least 4 glasses of wine, most people of course drink more. This might seem strange to someone who is not familiar with Jewish tradition, but there is a lot of reasoning for this - the most important being that we are celebrating the freedom of the Jewish people and being thankful for the fact that we are no longer slaves. This goes back to the story of the Exodus from Egypt, the story of the 10 plagues and Moses leading the Jewish people out of slavery and to freedom.

So tonight is the first night of the Jewish holiday called Passover (or Pesach) and it's a really nice time to celebrate and eat and drink with new friends and old friends. There is definitely a serious undertone to the holiday as there is with many Jewish holidays and with life in general - a great example of this is that tonight the Rabbi was standing on a chair holding a glass of wine, telling stories at the top of his lungs, joking around like it was almost a stand-up comedy act... but every little while he would get back to the point of his stories - that as free people we should be happy and we should rejoice in the facts of the wonderful world we live in today. The fact that we are free to practice our religion and our customs and culture in safety and comfort is something that the Jewish people have not always had.

It's great to be reminded of how lucky we are so we don't take this world for granted.

Well that's my post for tonight, another crazy Seder again tomorrow night. :)

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