The view from my veranda

Holy Easter Chag Sameach


April 8th 2012

To all my Christian friends, of whom there are many and much loved, I wish you a Holy Easter.

I apologise for missing Good Friday but I was busy cooking for the Passover Seder. Let’s celebrate our similarities and accept our differences with love and tolerance and remember how close we are.

On Good Friday the Old City of Jerusalem was filled with white clothed pilgrims, priests and participants in the procession to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, through the winding narrow streets, along the Via Dolorosa and the stations of the Cross.

It was a truly emotive scene, redolent with the heavy, smokey scent of incense and thousands of white candles carefully held as the procession, wound through the ancient alleyways of this incredible city.

It never fails to amaze me, as I tread these ancient stones, that this is where King David wrote his psalms and Jesus walked, speaking gently to the hearts of ordinary folk, determinedly bringing social reform and hope.

Each of the 52 Christian denominations has its own rites. The Greek Orthodox perform the Easter ritual on Easter Eve in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the Miracle of Holy Fire whereby the fire of G-d is sent to earth, bursting forth of flame at the sacred tomb, lighting the candle held in the hand of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. Upon receiving the miraculous flame, he passes it to his followers who are throughout the church.

The Anglicans perform the Washing Of The Feet Easter Ceremony At Anglican St George Cathedral, Jerusalem
The Ethiopian Orthodox perform the ceremony in the exquisite Ethiopian Church on Ethiopia Street off the Street of the Prophets
The Catholic Church in Jerusalem

Passover, Easter, Jerusalem – we must celebrate our differences not just accept them because we have so very much more in common than we could ever find to separate us.

Our Passover Seder was amazing, small but amazing, and as we recited the age old story of slavery, bravery, plagues and freedom I couldn’t help but remember that our freedom was hard earned and well worth celebrating. As I think of Moses standing on Mount Nebo, unable to enter the Promised Land because of his former disbelief, I recognise how lucky I am, not only because I too stood on Mount Nebo but because I then came home, to Jerusalem.

Joining us at the Seder Table were our friends David Efron and Kathy from Florida and Lauren Efron, Davids wonderful daughter who made Aliya this year and read her portions in Hebrew. Kol ha Kavod Libah!! Also Ira and Valeri Silver, who made Aliya from Moscow 19 years ago and gave us Sheli and Tomer, their amazing children who have not missed a Raviv Seder since their birth; Amiad, Judith, Zamir, Esti and Yagil completed the Kahal. Zvi sang beautifully and yes, we did the cat’s chorus of Only One Kid. Maybe one year we will record it on youtube!

The house is covered in a snow of matza crumbs and I am happy. My children were not with me but I know above all else that they love each other, support each other and will never ever let anyone break the bond of their shared womb, shared life, shared love and shared traditions. I was thrilled that each of my children called to ask for family recipes or told me that they were making them. It brings my parents, grandparents and traditions into our lives wherever we may be. I spoke to my siblings and felt their love – family, family family.

So to all of you, I wish you Chag Sameach – a Happy Festival. Whether it be Passover or Easter – we are FAMILY.

With much love from Jerusalem,