Los Angeles Jewish Home's Blog

Jewish Holidays are an Important Part of Our Lives

by Kay Carmona
Los Angeles Jewish Home Resident

Holidays are an important part of our lives. They mean different things to different people; but we all agree that more than anything else, they bring families together and enrich our lives with nostalgic memories — memories to treasure and fill our lives with the love and warmth of family. This is especially true of Jewish holidays because, not only do they bring families together and weave sweet memories that last a lifetime, they are our link, or connection to the generations before us who passed on the values, commandments, and traditions of Judaism — even under the most trying circumstances — keeping it alive and current down through the ages.

Spring ushers in the festivals of Purim and Passover. I think most of us have memories of our childhood days, dressing up in wacky costumes as Queens Vashti and Esther, Mordechai, King Ahasuerus, and the booing, banging, and noisemakers at every mention of Haman. The delicious hamantaschen goodies, and the atmosphere of camaraderie and joy among family and friends.

Passover is a little more sedate, but also happy, recalling how Moses with God's Mighty Power brought us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, leading us to the Promised Land. There, again, most of us have sweet memories — or maybe not-so-sweet memories — of Seders from our early childhood with our parents and relatives, and with Seders of our own families and relatives. I remember as a child how long and boring the Seder seemed. My Dad was a Hazan and insisted on doing the entire Seder from cover to cover, which seemed to me to last all night! Dipping in the salt water and making little matzoh sandwiches was kind of fun, and I really liked the haroset. I was so happy to hear my father say, "Now dinner is served." I remember the first time my husband and I hosted the Seder at our house. We had finally furnished our dining room, but it was barely able to accommodate so many people. We have learned from our folks that there is always room for one more, even if you have to bring in the barbeque table from the patio and the kitchen chairs. I remember how proud I was when I "graduated" from the children's table to the adults' table, and how it brought back memories when our children came to sit with us. Yes, the Jewish holidays bring fond memories of loving family and happy times.

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