The Case for Attending a Seder- the Passover Night Meal

Baruch Gordon,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Baruch Gordon
Baruch Gordon founded the Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com website in 1995 and served as manager and News Director for its English Media Department for 14 years. Today he serves as Director of Development and Public Relations for the Israel Defense Forces Preparatory Academy in Bet El and Bet El Institutions. He also directs BetElTours.com which offers countrywide tours of Israel. Baruch founded in Bet El a Smicha Program for working men, and received his smicha in 2014 from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Baruch served in the IDF Search and Rescue Unit. Born and raised in Memphis, he was elected International President of United Synagogue Youth in high school and soon after became religious while studying at Tufts University. Baruch resides with his wife Anat, a native Israeli, in Bet El and has 7 Sabra children and even more grandchildren. ...

My good friend from Bet El just posted an article making a plea to every Jew to attend a Seder, the traditional Passover night meal coming up this Friday night, April 19, 2019. He makes a nice case, and I recommend it - here it is:

Pick and Choose Jews — Choose Seder Night
by Yonatan Udren (from Bet El)

Have you ever met a Pick and Choose Jew? I meet lots of them at Hebrew University, where I run a Beit Midrash program for American overseas students studying abroad. This group of millennial Jews has become so prevalent that, at least from the students that I see, they are quickly becoming the majority.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean when I say “Pick and Choose Jews.”

Have you ever met a Pick and Choose Jew? I meet lots of them at Hebrew University, where I run a Beit Midrash program for American overseas students studying abroad. This group of millennial Jews has become so prevalent that, at least from the students that I see, they are quickly becoming the majority.

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean when I say “Pick and Choose Jews.”

One student, let’s call him Nathan, grew up Modern Orthodox in Philly, but these days he doesn’t wear a kippah or tzitzit. He no longer identifies himself as religious, but that doesn’t mean he’s totally irreligious either. The first time we sat together, he told me that, “I only keep the mitzvot that make sense to me.” For him that meant staying away from tefillin or any other mitzvot that he deemed “irrational.”  But he has a passion for Torah learning and a love of Shabbat.

Another student, let’s call her Abigail, grew up in a Reform home until her teenage years. In ninth grade her parents took an abrupt and unexpected turn towards Orthodoxy due to their connection to a local Chabad rabbi.  In college, she joined a secular Jewish sorority. But unlike the majority of her sisters, she always attended Chabad Friday night Shabbat programs. She would even gather a few of her sisters together once a week and take turns reading a book based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman (The Garden of Faith) before going out for beers at the local bars.

When someone asks me if the students with whom I work are religious or not, I always smile.

“Not in the traditional sense,” I answer.

Pick and Choose Jews transcend the binary religious/secular categorization. They come from parents with mixed denominational backgrounds, or even mixed marriages, and therefore they don’t associate themselves with one movement or institution. Often they have had a personal connection to Chabad, either from growing up, from their travels, or from campus, so they have some sense of traditional Judaism. They piece together their Jewish identity based on their diverse experiences and do what resonates with them; therefore, when Pick and Choose Jews choose a mitzvah, they do it out of personal dedication, as opposed to a religious obligation.

This phenomenon shouldn’t surprise us, considering that this generation was raised on the idea that identity is only a construct of our experiences and emotions.

I’m not here to judge these students, or bemoan the lowly state of our Jewish youth. I hold my students in the highest regard. They are all proud Jews, even if they define that differently than I do, and I deeply appreciate their struggles with and passion for Judaism.

I’m not writing this simply to note the phenomenon either, though I find it fascinating; I’m here to make a plea.

One student, let’s call him Nathan, grew up Modern Orthodox in Philly, but these days he doesn’t wear a kippah or tzitzit. He no longer identifies himself as religious, but that doesn’t mean he’s totally irreligious either. The first time we sat together, he told me that, “I only keep the mitzvot that make sense to me.” For him that meant staying away from tefillin or any other mitzvot that he deemed “irrational.”  But he has a passion for Torah learning and a love of Shabbat.

Another student, let’s call her Abigail, grew up in a Reform home until her teenage years. In ninth grade her parents took an abrupt and unexpected turn towards Orthodoxy due to their connection to a local Chabad rabbi.  In college, she joined a secular Jewish sorority. But unlike the majority of her sisters, she always attended Chabad Friday night Shabbat programs. She would even gather a few of her sisters together once a week and take turns reading a book based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman (The Garden of Faith) before going out for beers at the local bars.

When someone asks me if the students with whom I work are religious or not, I always smile.

“Not in the traditional sense,” I answer.

Pick and Choose Jews transcend the binary religious/secular categorization. They come from parents with mixed denominational backgrounds, or even mixed marriages, and therefore they don’t associate themselves with one movement or institution. Often they have had a personal connection to Chabad, either from growing up, from their travels, or from campus, so they have some sense of traditional Judaism. They piece together their Jewish identity based on their diverse experiences and do what resonates with them; therefore, when Pick and Choose Jews choose a mitzvah, they do it out of personal dedication, as opposed to a religious obligation.

This phenomenon shouldn’t surprise us, considering that this generation was raised on the idea that identity is only a construct of our experiences and emotions.

I’m not here to judge these students, or bemoan the lowly state of our Jewish youth. I hold my students in the highest regard. They are all proud Jews, even if they define that differently than I do, and I deeply appreciate their struggles with and passion for Judaism.

I’m not writing this simply to note the phenomenon either, though I find it fascinating; I’m here to make a plea.

[Click here for the continuation of the article]