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Passover

How and Why We Remember

The people of a certain culture devote an entire week of each year to commemorating one of the worst parts of their history. They taste bitter things to appreciate the suffering of their ancestors. They consciously abstain from consuming bread to remind themselves what was eatenor rather, what was not eaten. They mourn the deaths of their ancient oppressors. They drink the metaphorical tears of their forefathers and foremothers. And year after year after year, they gather around tables to recount the suffering and the humiliation and the turmoil of their own people.

Seder Plate

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Seder plate for Passover.
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Seder plate for Passover.

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Eliana Melmed with her two great-grandmothers.

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Eliana Melmed with her two great-grandmothers.

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Esther Broner "made room for us at the table by creating a whole new one—a Seder table at which women’s voices were heard.”

Seder Sisters' Women's Passover Video

E.M. Broner talks about the Seder Sisters’ Women’s Passover, 2000. 
Courtesy of E. M. Broner

E.M. Broner talks about the Seder Sisters’ Women’s Passover, 2000. 
Courtesy of E. M. Broner

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Passover in Charleston

I went to Charleston, South Carolina during the week of Passover to escape the fact that this year my holiday didn’t really feel like a holiday. My three kids were with their father for the week, according to the custody schedule. My parents and siblings were in Israel, and I’d decided not to join them there.

My boyfriend and I had picked Charleston because it was a city I’d never been to and as a Southerner myself, I’d always wanted to visit. But until now, it had never made it to the top of the list – and indeed, my own sense of myself as a Southerner was fading. The longer I lived away – in New York and now in Boston - the less present that personal and family history felt, more a piece of where I come from, but less and less who I am.

Charleston Plantation

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The Charleston Plantation.

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JWA use only on jwa.org

The Charleston Plantation.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Passover." (Viewed on February 11, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/passover>.

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