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Seder Night will remind me of my parents – the two great storytellers in my life . . .

During this time of year when our attention is drawn towards the telling of the story of our Exodus, I am reminded of how my life has been shaped and influenced by two very important storytellers - my late father and my mother. Their styles could not be more different. My father Joseph, outgoing, flamboyant, dramatic and witty, and my mother Ida, quiet, soft-spoken, and shy. Yet both passed on to me tremendous insight and a wealth of values.

The act of storytelling is a central part of who we are. Stories help make sense of our world and our place in it and we define ourselves by a story within time. We create stories - verbally, orally and written, and non-verbally - through movement/dance, visual symbols and signs/visual arts, and sound-making/music. Where there is life, in any form, there is communication. But only humans tell stories.

And what is that story? It is the one we tell our children on the night of Passover. Haggadah means "the telling" and that's what we do at the Seder table - we tell a story.

My father was a natural storyteller. He was able to capture people's attention and move them into the stories he weaved. My mother doesn't come to storytelling naturally. She will reminisce out loud; she will remember something important or meaningful in her life and recount it. Both storytellers, however, were "telling" the same story - the story of survival. Theirs is a personal story of survival about how individuals, through oppressive and dangerous times, did what they needed to do to overcome and continue to exist; of how they individually made their way to Palestine, got married and created a family, a future.

When I read and hear the Haggadah this Passover, I will be in awe of the story being told of the Jewish people and the birth of our nation. And I will recall the stories of my parents and how they came out of a "narrow place" and survived. 

 

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Tuesday, 29 November 2022

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