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Yesterday was my Unitarian Universalist congregation's annual Passover Seder. Over twenty years ago I created a UU-style Haggadah for the congregation, and we still use it every year. I have a health issue going on that involved some minor surgery last Wednesday that is sapping my already low energy level, so I couldn't do much of organizing or preparation, but by skipping a small potluck dinner on Saturday night I was at least able to conduct the Seder.

The group was small this year -- some years we've had almost 50 people, but this year there were only about 20. But although I'd like to see more of the community participating, it made the Seder seem more like the extended-family celebration it's supposed to be rather than the feeling of a big event.

Most importantly, everyone who attended thought it was wonderful! The all showered compliments on me for the way I led it and raved about the Haggadah. Several of the participants had never been to a Seder before, and they all said they enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.

I originally created this Haggadah because the one my church had been using when I first came was too long and too high-flown for what is supposed to be transmission of oral history to the children! I was appalled when I went with woofiegrrl, who was then 5 years old, and discovered she was the only child there. As bright as she was, the college-level text was still way over her head; without understanding what was going on for over an hour of reading, she was bored to death. I could see why there were no other kids there -- but without children to learn the story, the entire point of teaching the history of a people to the next generation is lost.

I resolved to write a new Haggadah that would be short (it runs a half hour before the meal and 10 minutes after it) and use accessible language, yet include all the important elements of the Seder in the correct order. While being faithful to the spirit of the Jewish Seder, it's UU in flavor -- for example, we flick an additional ten drops of wine out of the glass for plagues that afflict all too many people in our own time (slavery, child abuse, poverty, hunger, and so on) as well as the ten in the story.

Between all the praise on Sunday and the warmth of the welcome here, my heart is full.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 19th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
Dunno if you read this in my LJ, but I've joined Arlington UU! Signed the book about 18 months ago and attended for a full year before that. This fits for me, and I've been very happy there.
Apr. 19th, 2011 05:35 am (UTC)
I saw that you mentioned something about UU in the part I read, but I didn't know if you were just visiting or what. That's great! And I'm glad to know you have a supportive religious community to turn to right now.

By the way, I love that chalice icon -- may I steal it?
Apr. 19th, 2011 12:11 pm (UTC)
Go for it. I'm sure I stole it from somewhere. :)
Apr. 21st, 2011 09:15 pm (UTC)
Oh wonderful - glad the seder went well! Sorry I couldn't make it, but glad those who could really enjoyed it! I think it's good to keep things like this going at UUCC!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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