We’re expanding our Encyclopedia of Jewish Women and we need your help! Know an extraordinary Jewish woman whose story should be told? Nominate her to be included!
Close [x]

Show [+]


You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

The Power of Stories

This month our Rising Voices Fellows explore their relationships to Passover traditions. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

When I was younger, if you had asked me which of the many Jewish holidays is my favorite, I would never have said Passover. The restrictions that Passover requires made it hard for me to enjoy the message behind the Passover story. Plus, the drama that Passover created in my family, with my parents running around the house cleaning, only added to the stress. My grandmother changed this feeling for me.

Every year during the Passover season, we all come together. My grandmother used to host the whole family for the first Seder—she cooked and enjoyed watching us kids act out the plagues.

Then, when I was in the third grade, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. But before she passed away two years later, she created Passover traditions that remain with me even today. She not only loved the story of freedom, but relished the idea that she too went out of Egypt. She taught me to tell my own stories, much like the Passover story. Many Jewish stories are told from a man’s perspective, but Passover requires each of us to tell our own story. Every Seder we all participate in mini-skits—all of the kids act out each plague and the adults always chime in as well. It has become a Passover tradition for our Seder tables to be covered with toys and knickknacks that represent the plagues.

Now that I look back on it, I can understand why she valued telling her own stories. She felt a lack of control when she was sick. She often felt defined by the medical records and the cancer itself. Cancer took so much away from her. Telling her own stories, especially those of Passover, gave her back her own voice.

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
1 Comment

Eden, this is so beautiful. What a lovely tribute to your grandmother. We'll be thinking of her this Passover!

Eden Marcus with her grandmother
Full image

2013-2014 Rising Voices Fellow Eden Marcus with her grandmother.

Subscribe to Jewish Women, Amplified and get notifications sent to your email.

How to cite this page

Marcus, Eden. "The Power of Stories." 8 April 2014. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on March 19, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/power-of-stories>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now


How do you prefer your latkes?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



12 hr
in 1922, Judith Kaplan became the first American to celebrate a . https://t.co/UVwBleznrS
14 hr
From May 31 - June 2, our friends at are hosting their first EVER Women and Girls Shabbaton in Massachusett… https://t.co/cX5o03b5HK
15 hr
Last night, talked about bullying and public shaming on . 👏 https://t.co/RlyCExORpb