Take Me Out to the Seder, Take Me Out to the Game
My wife and I go with our children to baseball games, I went
with my father to baseball games, and my father went with his
father to baseball games, but that's as far back as the chain
stretches. On the other hand, every year my wife and I have a
Passover seder with our children, we had a seder with our
parents, our parents had a seder with their parents, their parents
had a seder with their parents, and on and on and on.
The Passover experience is a living chain that stretches
waaay back�back before the days of Sandy Koufax, Ty Cobb,
and Abner Doubleday (the inventor of baseball), before Benjamin
Franklin, Napoleon Bonaparte, Ferdinand and Isabella, Richard
the Lion Hearted, Saladin, Mohammed, Paul, Julius Caesar,
Plato, Confucius, Buddha, Homer, and just about anyone else
you can think of.
Now, to be perfectly honest, many people have a problem
with Passover. In fact, their problem with Passover is indicative
of a problem that lots of people have with Judaism in general.
People think that since Judaism stretches so waaay back it must
also be waaay out of touch with the real world they live in.
Well, I'm here to tell you that Passover, and Judaism, are
actually much more in touch than most people realize. The truth
is, I grew up thinking that Passover was little more than a bunch
of musty old rituals that for some reason you had to do every
year with your family, whether you liked it or not. And that's
basically what I thought about Judaism, too.
Don't get me wrong�I was always proud to be a Jew. I
always felt a special connection when I was with other Jews. But
when it came to the religious stuff, well, it was just so old.
Quaint, perhaps, but very, very old, and therefore it seemed very,
very outdated. Judaism may have been warm and fuzzy in that
cultural roots sort of way, but it was clearly waaay irrelevant to
My Life Story, at Least so Far
At this point, what you know about me is that I like baseball,
I grew up not knowing what to make of Judaism, I'm now
married with kids, we have a family seder every Passover, and I'm
the author of the book you are holding. Frankly, if you want
more details�especially the embarrassing ones�you'll just have
to ask my wife. For now, the only other thing I'm going to reveal
is that I am thoroughly in love with Passover. To me, Passover has
become an absolute highlight of the year�kind of like the World
Series, only bigger. And now you know one more thing. You
know why I wrote this book. This book is for people who think
that at best Passover is a cozy, cultural family get-together, and at
worst is so waaay out of touch that it doesn't matter if we lose
I wrote this book, as well as The Survival Kit Family
Haggadah, because over the years I have found Passover to be
astonishingly in touch with so many of life's most important
issues. At one time or another (usually with a close friend or
someone we love very much), we all find ourselves pondering the
great issues of life. Issues like: meaning, purpose, spirituality,
goals, dreams, freedom, family and love�the real issues of life.
This may sound almost unbelievable, but Passover addresses a lot
of those issues, and it has some fantastic things to say about them.
Few of the ideas contained in this book are novel. They are
a bit of what I have discovered so far, refracted through the lens
of this baseball-loving American Jew's attempt to live a
thoughtful and spiritually vibrant life. It is my deepest hope that
through these pages you, too, will discover that there just may be
far more to Passover, and to life, than you ever imagined. By the
way, if you happen to be in Baltimore this spring, consider
yourself invited to our seder. And who knows, maybe we'll even
go to a ball game together.