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By Ramona L. Brand, Director of Youth Learning

Kol Koleinu, All Our Voices

Passover will soon be upon us with its flurry of preparation, excitement, and pageantry of the Seder.

Families and friends gather to celebrate this most central holiday of the Jewish year around our dining room tables.

We are all participants in recreating the story of our liberation and our journey toward becoming the Jewish people, simultaneously united and diverse in identity.

We use the Haggadah to tell our story. A story that begins with wandering. The Maggid section of the Haggadah uses this text “My father was a wandering Aramean. He went down to Egypt with meager numbers and sojourned there. But there he became a great and populous nation.” [Deut. 26:5) to begin relaying our foundational story.

This passage, this immediate description of descending from the “Wandering Jew” re-minds us of our rootlessness before the Exodus and presages a repeat of this experience throughout thousands of years in Jewish history.

We have traveled the earth over, settled and resettled in countries across the globe enriching and enlarging our cultural heritage along the way.

A centerpiece of the Seder is the recitation of The Four Questions. It is customarily recited by the youngest child at the table, ensuring the passage of our story, L’dor V’dor, from one generation to the next.

In our home, after we recite The Four Questions in Hebrew, we repeat in multiple other languages as well to represent our own family’s diversity, which includes Ashkenazi, Pakistani, Albanian, and Chinese heritage. Our family is a small representation of the larger wandering and gathering of our Global Jewish Family.

Jews are a ‘great and populous nation’ with a vast richness of experience, diversity, and tradition, bound together by the story of the Haggadah. Recognizing that our story begins with this acknowledgement, we can bring Kol Koleinu, All Our Voices to the table.

Want to bring an international flair to The Four Questions at your table? Use this book at your Seder: “The Four Questions Around the World” by Ilana Kurshan, Introduction by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

April Religious School Calendar:

Sundays: April 16, 23, 30

Wednesdays: April 19, 26

6th Grade Family Learning: April 23

Teen Electives: April 4,16, 23, 30, May 7

Temple Beth-El Religious School employs the best practices in Jewish Education! to raise the curiosity and literacy of our students, teachers, and families!

Contact Ramona L. Brand at 804-355-3564 ext. 111 or r.brand@bethelrichmond.org  to learn more about our vibrant Jewish education and our remarkable congregation or visit www.bethelrichmond.org/education/brown-religious-school/  to find a registration form.

In the photos with the article are pictures  of teachers, parents and students who made Purim on Broadway a big hit at the annual Purim Party on March 5th as well as Beth-El 6th and 7th graders recently braving the snow to visit Monticello as part of their study of American Jewish History. They learned about the Levy family and their contribution to restoring and preserving Monticello.