When Jews gather at the Passover Seder — the most widely observed Jewish holiday — they recount the exodus from Egypt, an event that occurred 3,200 years ago. We Americans have difficulty keeping alive the memory of events that happened 231 years ago! How have the Jews managed to accomplish this? Through the ritual of the Passover Seder. Jews spend the evening recounting the Exodus from Egypt as if it happened to them. In the words of the Passover Haggadah ‘every person is obligated to regard himself as if he himself left Egypt.’ The story is retold in detail, and it is told as if it happened to those present at the Seder, not only to those who lived it 3,200 years ago.
This is so true. Jews are an anomaly. Given the ups and downs of civilizations, we should no longer exist (G-d forbid). But they do. As I've been studying ancient history with Amirah—the beginnings of civilization in Mesopotamia and the earliest history of ancient Egypt—I can't help but feel that not much time has passed between then and now. This history is *my* history, as a people, and even as an individual as we recount the story of OUR exodus from Egypt. I am so excited to re-study history with my children, to see how very relevant these histories are to who we are now.