More Than Tradition


By Justin Meinken

“Make your Passover experience new,” advocates Rabbi Joshua Franklin of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons. “Don’t be afraid to create a Passover that is relevant to you,” he stated.

According to the rabbi, “Passover is one of the most celebrated Jewish holidays. It’s even more celebrated than the High Holy Days. It is one of the only holidays that is celebrated primarily in the home, with friends and family gathering at the table focused on religion and the Exodus experience.”

“Passover rituals such as the four questions and the reading of the Haggadah are important in the Jewish faith because they are meant to engage and speak to a person’s own experiences,” he indicated.

Rabbi Franklin explained, “The Haggadah, which means ‘The Telling,’ is read at the family Seder and recounts the story of the Exodus detailing the Israelites’ freedom from slavery and the beginning of their journey from slavery to redemption to the Promised Land. It speaks to the paradigm of the way we live our lives as Jews, Israelis, Americans, and human beings.”

According to the rabbi, the holiday is celebrated by more than 70 percent of American Jews. He reasoned, “It’s not the food. There’s always food at the holidays. It’s the ideas and the message of the holiday. It’s about slavery, it’s about redemption, relieving oppression in the world. We are compelled to do something about it.”

“Biblical plagues are things of the past. We won’t see blood, the slaying of the first born or frogs, but we have other things going on in the world which we need to recognize and try to solve,” the rabbi added.

On Saturday, the Jewish Center of the Hamptons is hosting a Seder. Rabbi Franklin said, “I plan to speak about hunger and homelessness, the enslavement that technology has on our children and us as adults, women who are being sexually harassed and abused, and tyranny in everyday life that we see abroad.”

“Plagues affect us all, not just those people who are literally in poverty or enslaved. It is important to realize that this is more than just a holiday where we remember the Exodus journey from slavery to the Promised Land and bondage to freedom. It’s a holiday which speaks to every single person and makes us active agents in relieving repression in the world,” he added.

The Seder begins at 5 PM. Rabbi Franklin invites everyone, whether of Jewish faith or not, to be a part of the Passover celebration.

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