The finished "fluff," Grandma Sheila's beloved Passover recipe
The finished “fluff,” Grandma Sheila’s beloved Passover recipe

It takes 15 minutes after the eggs are whipped stiff, and after the sugar is added, for the sliced strawberries to incorporate into the velvety mixture that we know as my grandmother’s strawberry fluff.

The mixer stood on the kitchen counter, whirring its motor as the attachment whisked in consecutive circles to whip this recipe into creation for tonight’s Passover Seder. Last night, as I flipped the page in the family cookbook to find my grandmother’s matzoh ball recipe, I found a yellow lined piece of paper folded, with a post-it clinging to it:

“Here’s the recipe you asked for, honey. Good luck with it. Love you. Grandma.”

My eyes filled with tears. It is as if she is standing beside me, last night, and today.

As the fluff finished into its velvety result, I finished the last pages of a book I was reading, The Covenant, by author Naomi Ragen. About the politics of Israel and the Palestinians. About homeland. About belief. About humans shedding the same tears. About families of all ethnicities with hearts that beat the same, tears that taste salty, dreams and hopes for their children.

We pray for the same outcomes: peace, unity, community, communion with God.

My seder table, ready for our guests tonight.
My seder table, ready for our guests tonight.

Tonight, at sundown, Jews around the world will sit at similar tables and open the familiar books we open every Passover, to take us through our journey out of slavery and into freedom. Out of Egypt, into the Land promised us by the God we believe in.

Today, in churches around the world, Christians are praying for the rising of Christ. Today is Good Friday, Sunday is Easter. When I was 22, I sat in a Catholic church in Dublin, Ireland today, the candles flickering and soft solemn musical notes plaintively announcing the coming of the Lord.

In the ways we celebrate, in the ways we sanctify time, in the ways we hope for a connection with our Maker, and to live a life of goodness and harmony, we are all the same.

Today, I see that. When Passover and Easter coincide, we see our families stop and focus on what matters. Come together over the beautiful table. Sanctify our wine, bless our children.

We are all the same. How easily we forget that, when we lay claim to things and places, to right over wrong. My right may not be your right, but we can sit and hold hands and breathe in the spring air, confident in the idea that we are breathing it together, and that shared breath keeps us both alive.

Yesterday, my ex-husband told my son that the way Reform and Conservative Jews pray qualifies as avodah zara, idol worship. It’s “strange prayer,” he said, because so many learned Jews have changed the order of the service, or the words said therein.

What an odd thing to say. To disparage our fellow brethren is an insult to God himself. What I believe, what you believe, what he believes, it is all the same at the root. How can we truly justify wishing ill on anyone, let alone those who share in our Covenant?

For when we do, it is clear that we have learned absolutely nothing. That our journey on this earth is still long and arduous, if we cannot simply accept the peace of all of us sharing a precious lineage, and a desire for godly connection in this life.

I hope we enter this holiday season with a sense of reverence – for life, for freedom, for pursuit of peace and joy. These are shared desires, and so I offer up my prayer to all of you, as I do for everyone I love, and even those I do not prefer. We are in this together, connected at the Source.

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