How the Seder Came to Be
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The Opening Song
We begin with the song Gesher Tzar Meod – All the World is a Narrow Bridge. This song reflects the journey we are about to take along the narrow bridge between life and death.
This is also reflected the entrance to the new Holocaust Memorial Museum at Yad Vashem, a narrow bridge between a rising slope and a falling one.
The museum winds its way though the story of the Holocaust, from before the war through the time after, just as our ceremony does. At the end, you come to the Hall of Names, a remarkable exhibit of pictures of people who were murdered in the Holocaust – from before the war, much as we use pictures from before the war in our rememberance at the end of our ceremony.
At the end of the museum, you come to a remarkable view of Jerusalem, again reminding us that we survived and we go on.
Covering the Barbed Wire
Near the end of the Seder, we take strips of old photographs and cover a barbed wire Star of David. We do this to remember our ancestors as they were before these terrible things happened to them.
Cutting up family pictures for this purpase always makes me feel a little queasy, like I’m repeating the Holocaust – cutting them apart from their families all over again. However, I picked family pictures (vs. looking for individual pictures) on purpose because part of the point is to acknowledge and recognize that they were cut off from each other. Fundamentally, everyone went through this alone (or maybe with one other person/child, as happens in some strips). The “torn” strips represent the tearing apart of families that was such a horrific part of this tragedy.
The picture on this page, a poster by Liz Elsby from Yad Vashem’s 2014 Keeping the Memory Alive poster contest, represents the lost from these photos – the empty seats that were once filled.