Why is this night different from all other nights?: Passover resources for 2020

Each year at Passover, we start the retelling of our story of liberation by asking the Four Questions, beginning with “Why is this night different from all other nights?” This year, many of us are celebrating Passover in a way that feels different than it ever has. New vocabulary like “social distancing,” “isolation,” and “quarantine” are drastically changing the way we share our celebrations.

It is tempting to think that this question of “Why is this night different from all other nights?” has never been so relevant. Yet for the Israelites in Mitzrayim, the first Passover itself was a radical and new event. When the first Rabbis invented the first Seder, it was a radical and new way of telling a story. Even after thousands of years, the retelling of the Passover story both comforts and challenges us. The Four Questions continue to reflect our innate curiosity, our thirst for knowledge, and our courage to speak up.

My favorite moment of the Seder comes just before we ask the Four Questions. We hold up a dry, fragile piece of matzah and declare, “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who need come and celebrate Passover.”

For me, this act of invitation is the heart of the story. We are called to reach out to one another and to create spaces that are welcoming and equitable for all. We remember that the work of creating that invitation is ongoing. As we work towards LGBTQ equality in our communities, that symbolic act serves as a challenge and a source of hope. In whatever form you are able to this year, continue to retell and find inspiration and joy in the Passover story.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration for your Passover celebration this year, Keshet has some great resources that can help.

  • In this collection, we offer readings and rituals for your seder, reflections on Jewish text, personal stories, and more.
  • This blog post highlights the importance of an inclusive Passover and an inclusive Jewish community.
  • Check out our webinar on Queering the Seder. We’ve got tips, tricks, Passover traditions, and some great suggestions from our community.
  • Also on the Keshet blog, Dr. Joy Ladin writes beautifully about Passover and binaries. 
  • Keep an eye out for other resources and events from Keshet this Passover. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Chag Pasech Samech,

-The Keshet Team

Discover More

Emerging from Narrow Places: Passover and the Stories of LGBTQ Jews

Passover is also a time for us to reflect on the mitzrayim we face today: what are the narrow places from which we must emerge? What are the ways in which we must move toward freedom from transphobia and heterosexism in our families, our workplaces, our Jewish communities? What steps do we need to take to bring us farther along on this journey?

The Value of an Inclusive Passover

When we are inclusive, everyone benefits, and our seder tables are better off.

This Passover, Slavery Hasn’t Ended

Regardless of which Haggadah you use to tell the Passover story, you can download timely and thought-provoking supplements to add meaning to your Seder.