by Anita Diamant
It’s been years (and years) since Jim and I hosted a Passover seder. When Emilia was little, we co-created and co-hosted a few with other families who had young children, too. Those evenings included doing the rituals (dipping parsley, reading the story, singing songs) on the floor in the living room – pretending we were in a tent to engage the kids and enhance the traditional message that we were all going into exile along with our ancient ancestors.
That was a long time ago. For nearly two decades, we have been guests at other, wonderful tables, where we were treated as family. The Kushner, Mencow, Cohen and Kline-Slomsen seders were different in countless ways, from menus to melodies to how many pages were skipped and how many extra readings were added. Year after year, I was profoundly grateful to be included and embraced and, I have to admit, to be excused from the gargantuan job of cooking, cleaning, planning and running the show.
But this year, Emilia moved back to Boston and I was eager to break out the fancy dishes and make Pesach at home. This was always my hope and plan and, as it turns out, hers as well.
Emilia is the most literate Jew in the family. She has the most Hebrew, is a natural teacher/performer and led the eight people at our dining room table through a hagaddah of her own creation, which was funny, engaging, political and eloquent. We sang songs and the blessings after the meal. We laughed and learned together.
Our seder this year was memorable for many reasons; Nathan’s presence, Jim’s leg of lamb, my mother’s excellent matzoh balls, our guests Amy, Roberta and Sarah. But to me, the most unforgettable was Emilia’s mastery, comfort and pleasure in her role as guide and emcee. Dream come true.