A Story for Passover - For Everyone
This is my grandpa – Julius Gerber. He was the kindest man you could ever meet.
Like his dad from a family of Ukrainian immigrants through Ellis Island, everyone loved my grandpa, who’s smiling eyes lit up any room. As my eyes teared up leaving my brother’s family home in Colorado the other day to come back to California, I couldn’t help but remember my Gramps eyes whenever he left us in New Jersey to fly home to Miami. I didn’t get it back then, but I do now.
My grandpa was the head of the Passover table when I was a child. He led us through the Haggadah, assigned readers of The Four Questions (usually to me), the Wise, the Simple, the Wicked son, and of course the son who hath no capacity to inquire. He poured the Manischewitz, opened the door for Elijah, and very sneakily hid the Afikomen for us to go find – sometimes after quite a hunt, we found it was in his jacket pocket all along. My
grandpa’s openness and acceptance of all good people also set the tone for my dad (a Catholic) to take over as the lead at the Passover table after he was gone. Though reading Hebrew like my grandpa was not quite my dad’s thing, it was always endearing (and also hysterical) to see my Dad, in memory of my grandpa, try out the phonetic Hebrew for a few lines before he decided we would probably never eat if he attempted to do the whole Seder that way.
I miss those traditions. They are such a big part of who I am and how I face the world. But on this day – perhaps better said, on this night, ‘distinguished from all other nights’, I always reflect on the joy and the love we all shared at the Passover table, led by my Grandpa.
I wish you all – those who celebrate the Passover, and those who have other traditions – love and joy this holiday weekend.