Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then
Harriet Ziefert and Karla Gudeon
Blue Apple Books, 2010
I feel like I should start this review with a disclaimer: I may not be the best person to write about today’s book! It’s written from a Jewish perspective and includes many details about the traditional Passover Seder… and I’m neither Jewish nor have I ever attended a Seder meal.
If that confession doesn’t make you unsubscribe to this blog immediately (thank you!), let me just say that one of the reasons I have enjoyed reading Passover the past few weeks is precisely because some of its subject matter is new to me. I know the biblical story of the Passover, of course, but like most Christians I am much more familiar with the celebration of Good Friday and Easter Sunday than I am with the observation of Passover.
Whether you’re like me in your ignorance about Passover or whether you know all there is to know about it, I commend this book to you equally. In it, Harriet Ziefert weaves together parallel accounts of the biblical Exodus story and the way that Jews have traditionally observed it for hundreds of years. Each spread tells one piece of the biblical story and then shows how it’s represented in a certain part of the Seder.
Christians will find much to love about this book. For one, Ziefert’s telling of the Exodus is faithful to the biblical account, and because of the significant theological parallels between Passover and Good Friday, it would behoove us to know the Passover story well. Secondly, as someone who is very interested in liturgy and passing on faith traditions to the next generation, I loved reading about the rich Jewish traditions surrounding the Passover holiday and how children are incorporated into them. Best of all, this is a story that is well told, creatively presented, and beautifully illustrated.
Passover, of course, falls during the same week as Easter – Jesus was in Jerusalem celebrating Passover the week he was crucified. For this reason, Passover is a fantastic book choice during Lent. I’m hard pressed to think of a better way to prepare to observe Holy Week than to look back at the events of the Exodus, when God saved his people by the blood of lambs in a foreshadowing of how he would later save them by the blood of the Lamb.