Home > Rabbi's Message > A Passover Message from Rabbi Sandra Bellush

Temple’s community Seder, held on the second night of the holiday, was a
resounding success! We returned to using the Reform Movement’s Baskin Haggadah, and the richness of its liturgy brought greater meaning to our Seder experience.  The variety of Haggadot  we have to choose from are almost as many as the variations that take place at each of our Seders.

As Reform Jews we are guided by Jewish tradition, but not bound by it. The variety of Haggadot we use is but one example. Due to differences in how we carry out some aspects of ritual, we sometimes find ourselves on a slightly different path than that of our Jewish brethren. Many Reform Jews, including Temple Am Echad, observe Passover for seven days, so we will be offering Yizkor on Friday morning. Congregations which observe eight days will offer Yizkor on the eighth day, which is Shabbat. As a result these congregations offer a Torah reading for the last day of Passover, and do not begin the weekly cycle of Torah readings until the following week. For Reform Jews who start the weekly readings this week, unchecked, our weekly Torah portion would be one week ahead of the rest of the Jewish world reading Torah on an annual cycle. So that this disjuncture does not take place, Reform Judaism takes this week’s Torah portion, Sh’mini, and reads it in two parts, half this week and half next week. Consider it a wonderful opportunity to delve into the parashah (weekly portion) in even greater detail than usual!

Rabbi Bellush