Stories of faith and tradition

Debra and Martin Darvick prepared to celebrate Seder with their family, 2019
Comic relief Youtubes and email about the present plague fill my mailbox. The “mask controversy” leads. But that will change.
                  Zoom and Skype keep folk connected and business rolling forward best they can. My heartfelt thanks to the farmer and hunter who feed us, and medical teams on firing lines.
I ignore the majority of unsolicited email. Most include sincere advice and strategies to promote the writer’s success in these trying times. Believe me, trials are nothing new, just different.
My heart leaps when I see Debra’s email Wednesday, April 1. She attaches the link of her new blog titled, “What? No Seder?” I anticipate another fresh drink of life. 
I recall the beautiful April day in 1999 when I met Debra in the Detroit Public Library. In the Fine Arts Room before an audience of our peers, she read her award-winning memoir about her Jewish grandmother.
I saw her grandmother complete the process of stirring and baking ├ęclairs with her granddaughter, the spatula’s chocolate touch. Her story related to my Pentecostal granny who served my sisters and me fresh, hot buttered biscuits with fried apples.
Food and faith connected us that day of pink crabapple blossoms along Woodward Avenue.
Here I am in April again with another relatable story from Debra.
“My rabbi told me he and his colleagues are hearing from congregants who may well forgo Seder completely this year,” Debra begins.
I understand. One lonely empty-nest Easter, I didn’t have heart enough to carry my mother-in-law’s Easter ceramics upstairs and decorate. No yellow ducklings, chicks. No pink bunny on the dining room table. No Henrietta, the rabbit with fake eyelashes. No ham, scalloped potatoes, mandarin orange salad, and Coconut Bunny Cake.

Henrietta the Rabbit, Easter houseguest

Afterward, I realized the injury I’d done to myself and Mel, and the dishonor to my mother-in-law and her ritual of remembering Christ’s Resurrection.
As Debra says, “But if ever there was a time to have Seder, this is it! Rabbi Asher Lopatin commented that this year’s Seder will be akin to the first one in Exodus—families huddled in their homes eating their own meals—while mayhem carries on outside.”
Debra relates to my family and faith again.
“When we carry on a tradition, we honor and fulfill commandments dictated to us in an ancient scroll. When Exodus 12.24 says, ‘You shall observe this as an institution for all time, for you and for your descendants,’ that means us. ”
Debra observes Seder with her husband Martin. I observe Easter with Mel. We did so before children. We do so after.  We must sustain the life of our faith to sustain ourselves. Only then may we help sustain the life of our children’s faith.
Dear Reader, I bless that April day I met Debra. Listen to this. “People of faith are people of faith. Your struggles are mine, and visa versa. May we all find a way to celebrate the bitter and the sweet in this terrible time.”
Here’s one more drink of hope. “What a story we will all have to share afterwards.”           

For Debra’s complete blog, visit here:

https://readthespirit.com/debra-darvick/what-no-seder/