Tamar Messer “The Passover Haggadah” – Israel, 1961
Passover is almost here, beginning at sundown on Wednesday, April 8 and ending the evening of Thursday, April 16. However, this Passover is like no other Passover we have ever experienced in that we are quarantined in our homes so that the coronavirus can “pass over” our community until the pandemic is under control. Although this is a stressful time, it’s important to remember that a big Seder with family and friends doesn’t make Passover. What’s important is that it is a time to celebrate freedom and reflect on our roots, and remember and honor our ancestors who were once slaves to different “Pharaohs”.
My Bubbie and Zaydie, for instance, were Holocaust survivors. Their survival story is one of starvation, escape, and hiding in the woods. There is so much pain and suffering our tribe has endured, but we survived through our ruach (spirit) and chutzpah (temerity).
To honor all who came before us and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy today, I put together 10 songs to inspire your Passover holiday. After all, music and dancing are an essential part of the Passover story. For example, Miriam (Moses’ sister) led the Jewish women in a drum circle dance to celebrate the Israelites being saved from the Egyptian army. Spanish Rabbi of Middle Ages Ibn Ezra once said, “Bitter is wine, but it sweetens all bitterness.” Now, more than ever, it is time to drink “l’chayim” (to life) and dance in celebration of the Israelites who left Egypt, our ancestors who escaped other forms of slavery, and for the freedoms we enjoy today. Because although we are quarantined, we are still free!
Here are some joyous songs to stream this Passover.
“If I upset you / don’t stress. Never forget, that God isn’t finished with me yet.”
“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul. Wisdom is better than silver and gold.”
“Sneak between the sheets so hide the matzo / Holler back challah bread…next.”
“It’s hard to be on your own / Just hold on, we’re going home”
“Water comes down, drop by drop, forming oceans and rivers” Mana explained the beautiful significance of this lyric to me. She said that inspiration comes down like droplets of rain, but it comes together to become an ocean.
“You’re so special /
I just wanna get a hold on it / You’re so special /
And I ain’t gonna let you go”
Sometimes I wish life was never-ending / And all good things, they say, never last”
“I can fly / We can fly, ooh I am a Superwoman /
Yes I am, Yes she is / Even when I’m a mess /
I still put on a vest / With an S on my chest /
Oh yes I’m a Superwoman”
“My Umi said shine your light on the world /
Shine your light for the world to see /
My Abi said shine your light on the world /
Shine your light for the world to see, my Umi says”
P.S. As a trained modern dancer, I felt inclined to share a quick video of me dancing to the tunes of this playlist.
About the Author: Michele Amira is a nice Jewish girl, DC based journalist, spoken word artist, and vegan. When not writing, she might be found Israeli dancing, listening to hip-hop, and enjoying a l’chaim (toast) with her favorite drink – margaritas on the rocks.
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