A shared holiday


| vschneps@queenscourier.com |

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All my grandchildren posed before the search for the Afikomen began.

It’s a special year when Christian and Jewish holidays overlap each other and we all wish one another good cheer and happy holidays.

For me, the Seder brings back memories of my childhood. It seems like yesterday when my Adler cousins sat around the huge table and we were all yelled at for speaking during the service. Our holiday dinner celebration of Passover had special meaning for me for the first and second nights.

On the first night, my stepdaughter, Mimi Broner, invited me and all my children to join her beautiful family for the Seder. It’s always a special time when we can gather together, and this time will probably be the last one with Zach, who is graduating high school and going to Johns Hopkins in the fall. Sam, his older brother, didn’t join us because he’s away at Tufts University. Passages …

The service is the reading of the Haggadah, and Jim, Mimi’s husband, had each of us, including 8-year-old Blake, read passages from the ancient story. I have a sweet memory of my childhood when my dad led the special evening, but with a much longer version. After the Seder, a superb dinner was served with traditional dishes like matzo ball soup, brisket and multiple puddings. And the traditional macaroons for dessert made for a holiday meal.

Then the fun began, which is the tradition that the children search for the Afikomen, the matzo needed to complete the service, which Jim had hidden at the beginning of the Seder. The seven kids who were younger than 13 made a run for it hoping to win the monetary prize. My Jonah, who found it with the help of one of the older boys, proudly delivered the matzo wrapped in a napkin and the service was complete!

It was the finale of a very special night.

Then the next night I had the treat of taking my children to hear Rabbi Charles Agin and his beautiful daughter Susan, who runs the Performing Arts Center at Queensborough Community College, lead the Seder. It was a first for me and it was a powerful service that was fun for the children.

What follows is a poem appropriate to the holiday spirit written by Mother Teresa. It’s my gift to my readers.

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it.

Happy holidays to all.

Hudson, at 20 months, was dressed for the Seder.

Jonah helped find the Afikomen with Rabbi Charles Agin.

Zoe Easton with her Afikomen prize.