Leonie’s View – A Pesach Message

It’s that time again…

All volunteers to the decks; well in most cases to the floors.

Pesach is here… a wonderful mix of hard work, celebration and family networking!!

This year together with my close family, I will decamp to Israel.

seder_plate_armenianaEverything will be done on a plate this year, or is that Seder plate?

It makes me truly appreciative of the efforts that mostly women contribute, voluntarily, year on year to ensure that Pesach is celebrated in accordance with tradition, custom and Law.

It also allows me to remember previous Passover holidays, especially Seder nights, with fondness and sadness in equal measure.

Since last year my wonderful mother in law passed away. She is remembered for many things, but at Pesach for her macaroons. She volunteered to bake for many people, not just direct family members.

My own parents have long since passed away, but they are always with me. I remember their funny stories, pranks, Seder songs sung only by our family, and of course tastes. But more importantly my parents opened our house to guests. They were sometimes odd and frequently ageing, but this act, volunteered by my mother, was traditional to Pesach and has always resonated with me.

Who will you see at your Seder this year?

Who will you see at your Seder this year?

Who were these people, why did I see them only once a year? Where did they go the rest of the year?

I wonder if there are other guests at Seder who join in with family lives in this rather poignant way.

For me this is paralleled by those of us who touch people’s lives through doing one-off acts of volunteering – one-off acts of sincere kindness – as these perhaps change our lives more than the lives of the recipients.

Pesach is about memories, reliving and retelling. It’s a unique Festival where a service is conducted at home, but it’s also unique in that it touches all our senses. Smells and tastes are key to our common memory. However, it’s also about looking after the needy and the stranger. It’s a Festival when we start thinking about our contribution to our local and national communities. It’s a time to think about freedom: freedom from loneliness, freedom from poverty. We are slaves to time too, and Pesach gives us an opportunity to consider how we value time and use our time.

It is a time to think how we can volunteer more time to those who, as things stand, we might only see once a year.

If you would like to use your time even more effectively and volunteer over the next few months, please register on the JVN website www.jvn.org.uk or call us now on 020 8203 6427 and speak to Lia. We are specifically looking for Trustees, admin & IT Support, mentors for individuals with learning difficulties, but there are hundreds of volunteering opportunities on the site to choose from.

Wishing you fond memories and Happy Pesach,



Categories: Leonie's View


Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.


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