What is it about a Passover Seder that elicits such a fervent response in elderly Jews? Even those with little Jewish content in their lives, with minimal ritual observance, routinely make a great effort to gather for the annual Seder. It is a ritual practiced by almost all Jews of every denomination, throughout the land of Israel and the Diaspora.
It may be nostalgia for gatherings with extended families in the past; or a more idealistic connection to the historical events that prompted this centuries-old tradition; or it might be because the Seder celebrates the concept of our liberation from slavery, and the liberty to choose our own way of life.
The Seder ceremonies held each year at Thorne Mill on Steeles
in Ontario give our residents an opportunity to continue this cherished Jewish tradition. When we are all gathered in the Aroma dining room we truly appreciate the warm atmosphere and the special preparations made by the Thorne Mill staff.
Our Program Coordinators Lindsay and Cynthia are there along with Mark and the servers to guide us to our assigned seat. The place-cards at each table setting reflect their sensitivity and insight in seating us with our close friends.
The Hebrew word for family is ‘mishpocha’. As I arrive at the Seder each year, I truly have a feeling that we have created a Thorne Mill mishpocha, or surrogate family. At first, I thought I would miss the intimacy of my own family gathering. But to my pleasant surprise, I found myself feeling very much at home, comfortable to be sharing the festival with my peer group.
I must admit, I do not miss the pre-Passover preparations, the frantic cleaning, shopping and cooking at the last minute, arriving at the Seder totally exhausted. Those of us who have prepared and organized Seder evenings in our own families in the past know how much work is involved. That makes us appreciate even more the extra effort and attention to detail that goes into organizing the annual Seder at Thorne Mill.
We are fortunate to have a group of young Jewish students who volunteer to conduct an abridged Seder ceremony each year with expertise and sincerity. And our chef truly excels in preparing the traditional Jewish-style meal we all appreciate.
Our sincere thanks to all the staff involved in making our annual Seder a memorable and festive experience.