My Un-Orthodox Seder
Josh Dinar is a Wexner Heritage Alumnus, Denver 08. Josh is the co-founder of DiningOut Magazines,and a hotel/nightclub/restaurant operator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My wife’s family happened to be visiting us during Passover this year. We’d been graciously invited to several families’ celebrations, but we were a large crew – siblings, significant others, children, etc. – so crashing another dinner would have been pushing the boundaries of the holiday spirit. Rather than impose our small east coast refugee camp on another household, we opted to create our own seder. Of course, there was a small catch: my wife’s family is Catholic.
They are also, it turns out, incredibly good sports.
I had previously led a grand total of one seder during my tenure as head of our household (and that one – thanks to the fact that a) any children present were still infants and b) we paired each glass of wine with three fingers of Johnny Walker – was, um…informal), so I wasn’t entirely confident in my ability to be effective in the role.
Before we got married, my wife agreed to raise our as-of-yet non-existent children Jewishly. “But,” she warned, “you have to be active in that. You have to remember that I won’t know what that means without your help.” (You’d think this should have gone without saying, but my wife is magically insightful and knows well my shortcomings. She loves me nonetheless.) Anyway, as I sat at the head of the table, pillow shoved dutifully behind my back, staring at my in-laws with their yarmulkes positioned good-naturedly on their heads, I went back to that conversation.
You have to be active. It was that conversation that led me to apply to Wexner in the first place. It was that conversation that allowed me to hear Larry Hoffman, just a few days prior, discuss the meaning of the Haggadah and how we might bring personal significance to our own seders. I looked at my first son, now 4 years old, who stared adoringly at his German-born, German-speaking, kepah-wearing 12-year-old cousin. “Daddy, can cousin Sam help me find the Waffle-Comb-in?” And I caught myself thinking: How in the world did we get here?
It’s just amazing what you can learn when you attempt to teach. I put down the Haggadah and we started our bizarre, deliriously off-key retelling of the Exodus with the Shehecheyanu. Blessed are you who has supported us, protected us and brought us to this moment. This absurd, unlikely, gorgeous, unforgettable moment. Amen.