A Passover to enlightenment

Passover starts in a few weeks (the evening of April 2), and I recently got a new haggadah in the mail. Not just any haggadah. But the Haggadah for Jews & Buddhists.

What is an haggadah for Jews and Buddhists, you ask?

According to the publisher — the “Modern Haggadah Distribution Co.”:http://modernhaggadah.com/haggadahs.html — it is a “discussion provoking retelling of the Passover ritual, linking its meaning with Buddhist concepts.”

In other words…

The seder plate includes bitter greens, which “are eaten at spring festivals in many traditions. The sharpness of the taste awakens the senses and makes us feel at one with nature’s revival.”

A blessing of the candles includes “As we light the candles, let us make an attempt to reach the Light within ourselves.”

And the answer to the question “Why on this night do we eat bitter herbs?” becomes:

“We eat bitter herbs to remind us of the bitter experience of enslavement, of our ancestors enslaved in Egypt, of oppressed people all over the world. We could become bitter. Instead, by transforming our anger, we can reclaim our experience and reshape the world.”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.