Apr 25

Celebrating the Passover at Intermountain Residential by Jim Nallick, Jewish Mentor

one-drop-per-plagueHere at Intermountain’s Residential Campus in Helena, we are blessed to have a number of Jewish children ably taught and guided in their continued faith formation by our Jewish Educators, Janet Tatz and Jim Nallick. The following is a report from Jim Nallick on this year’s celebration:

On April 18th, we gathered at fellowship to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover. This is done by having a meal together known as a seder, which is a multi-sensory retelling of the Biblical story of how God liberated the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt through the leadership of Moses. The seder was presented by our team of Jewish educators who led the seder and prepared all the special foods.

Edie Kort (volunteer), Janet Tatz, and Jim Nallick - Our Jewish Education Team!

Edie Kort (volunteer), Janet Tatz, and Jim Nallick – Our Jewish Education Team!

Many symbols are used in the telling of the story. We are remembering being redeemed from slavery to freedom which is a festive occasion. There is wine in abundance – four small glasses of grape juice in our case, and we pause to thank God for all the blessings we have as we sample all the symbolic foods on our seder plate. Bitter herbs (parsley) is dipped in salt water to bring to mind our tears of sorrow. And if that is not enough tears, a big dose of horseradish served on the unleavened bread called matzah will bring tears to your eyes (and clear your sinuses) if you are brave enough to take a big bite. There is also the sweetness of apples cut up in a tasty mixture of nuts and cinnamon which has a resemblance to the mortar used while building for Pharaoh in slavery. We also remember that while there is much joy in freedom, that freedom comes at a high cost as we recall the terrible ten plagues culminating in the death of the firstborn of Egypt.  

The goal is to experience the story firsthand, remembering how WE were in Egypt and now WE are free. The story resonates through the ages because we all have our personal journeys of hardship, anxiety, and loss – but we also have the hope and experience of redemption and joy! The biggest portion of the seder is devoted to questions – what is the meaning of all of these symbols? Not just what traditional interpretations have been attached to these items, but what do they mean to us personally? With Passover being a brand new experience for most of the children, we had many, many, questions and many fresh insights on what all of this can mean for us here at Intermountain.