Once again, our community remembers that Pesach is a time to renew our connections with our ancestors as we explore our ancient roots in ritual fashion. We are instructed to tell the story of the communal Exodus from Egypt as if we ourselves had gone out from that “narrow place” over 3000 years ago. It is a time to reflect on the meaning of slavery and freedom, oppression and transcendence, repression and growth. We celebrate what it means to be a people dedicated to service of Hashem/Elohim, and renew our connection with the story and the people with whom it all began.
In addition to these general themes of Passover, our community seeks to explore the connection to our people’s past as an indigenous people. That is to say, what does it mean to be a Hebrew - an Ivri, a boundary crosser - one of the Children of Israel, an indigenous, tribal, aboriginal people who lived day to day connected intimately to the land and to nature? This was our initial motivation way back in 1995 for holding seder on the land, in the desert, much as our ancestors must have experienced it.
Each year we establish our Passover Village for an extended weekend, where we enjoy each others’ presence and spirits in a cooperative, and heart-felt endeavor. Our vision is to create a place in which we all dwell together as Brothers and Sisters, in which each Soul is fully seen, recognized, and acknowledged: creating a lattice of contribution in which each person serves a different role, a vital role in the community, aligned as much as possible to his/her core self.
- If I am not for myself, who am I? Im ayn ani li, mi li?
- If I am only for myself, what am I? U’c’sheh’ani l’atzmi, ma ani?
- If not now, when? V’ im lo achshahv, aymatay?
- How did we acquire community consciousness?
- What served as the common focal point of the community?
- How did we delegate duties and responsibilities?
- How did we find the proper balance between community and personal pursuits?
- What processes did we use to resolve conflicts?
A very special request this year:
Exodus 35:5: everyone of willing heart shall bring it (materials to build the Tabernacle)
Exodus 35:10: . . . every wise-hearted person among you shall come
From our Torah study this year:
We are indeed a fortunate People to have so much of our ancient history written and available to us in our sacred texts. Gratitude to the scribes!
As we gather this year among the stone beings of Joshua Tree, among the memories that we have built over the preceding 16 years, we will celebrate the freedom that we hold so dear, and again learn from one another what it means to be a community connected to the earth, to our ancestors, to Spirit, and to the best within each of us and each of our fellow human beings.
Please feel free to E-mail with any questions, comments, etc. If you want to read over the notes from our studies this past year on the topic of building sacred community, visit our blog at http//passovervillage.blogspot.com.
Shalom U’L’hitraot – see you in Joshua Tree!