Bashana haba-ah B’Yerushalayim
If we say, “Next year in Jerusalem” at a seder in New York, what do we say when we make a seder in Jerusalem? The answer is that we still say, “Next year in Jerusalem” because we pray to be in Yerusalayim L’Malah, Jerusalem on High, the future Utopian time when all will be peace. Singing about being in Jerusalem is a moment of hope and open-heartedness every year at the end of the seder, but this year, actually sitting at a seder in Jerusalem, I felt even more optimistic.
We made our seder with my brother Eric and lots of my cousins at a hotel in Jerusalem. As I looked around the large ballroom, I saw tables of thirty and tables of three. There were Jews in white shirts and black pants, Jews dressed in high fashion, and Jews in jeans. As each table began to sing “Dayenu,” we heard more different tunes than I thought possible. There were tables that were being served dinner before our table asked even the second of the four questions. While we sat at the table singing for a long time, we still were not the last table in the room. Every kind of Jew in Israel celebrates Pesach. Walking back through the streets of French Hill to our apartment at close to 1:00 a.m. I felt that anything is possible. Next year in Jerusalem.
We have been spending Chol HaMoed (the middle days of Passover) with Sarah’s boyfriend Sagi’s family on Kibbutz Mefalsim (next to Sederot, in the south), mountain biking and hiking. Everywhere we go, we see Israeli families enjoying the Passover vacation. It is the gift of Israel to be on the same calendar with everyone else! If I am hoping for next year in Jerusalem, so are all the other Jews I see.
Our youngest, Joshua, announced his intention to make aliya and follow his sister’s footsteps into the IDF. We couldn’t be more proud. With the great possibility of two out of four of the Drill children making lives in Israel, it will really be true for many years to come that we’ll be saying, in a real way, “Next year in Jerusalem.” As a Jew with faith, optimism and a belief in Jewish destiny, I will always say, “Next year in Jerusalem.” I’ll say it when I am here for Pesach, here among people living according to the Jewish calendar, here as a mother of Israeli offspring. I’ll say it when I am with all of you at the OJC for Pesach, among the people in the congregation that I love. My task never sways from working to bring about a better day for all humanity. Bashana haba-ah B’Yerushalayim.
L’hitraot, See you all soon! B’yedidut, with friendship,
Rabbi Paula Mack Drill