Sandy Levine shares her Passover experience and insights
Q: Tell us a little about your experience with Passover Seders.
A: When David and I first met in the mid 70’s, his family invited me, Chris and Allison to their family Seder. What an awesome experience! David’s mother, Muriel Levine, of blessed memory, was an excellent cook and hostess. David’s father, Burt Levine, of blessed memory, was a master at guiding us through the Pesach Haggadah. David is one of 6 children, so with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and visitors in attendance, we would be a happy, hungry, rowdy group of 20 or more.
Q: What foods did David’s parents serve?
A: Matzah, Matzah Ball soup, Roasted Chickens, a Lamb shank, Apple Charoset, Matzah Apple Kugel, Bitter herbs, a roasted egg, salt water, vegetable side dishes, and Manischewitz wine. For desert, Fresh Dates, Halavah, ice cream and fruit.
Q: When did you and David begin a Seder tradition in your home?
A: David and I married in 1976. Muriel Levine was my mother in law, friend and mentor. What an awesome example she was for her 4 daughters, for me and scores of others. I followed her lead and established similar traditions in our home.
For us, Passover is our favorite and most emphasized holiday. By 1980 we were hosting large Seders in our home as well. At first, David and I would prepare and serve all the food. We would move our living room furniture and set multiple tables to host 20-25 people. I still have menus and table plans from those early Seders. By 1988 we began, with lots of help, to roast a whole dressed lamb. What hilarious stories we have about this tradition!
Q: At this point in your life, what is Passover like for you?
A: We either have first night Seder in our home with family and friends or we travel to one of David’s siblings’ houses for a gathering of the larger family.
Q: What experience do you have with Community Seders?
A: In the 1990’s we attended our first community Seder. This was a new experience for us. We continued to have first night Seder in our home.
Q: When you were helping to establish Messianic Congregations and Synagogues overseas, what did you do for Passover Seders?
A: Our Passover Seder goal during our years in Hungary and Ukraine was to teach the congregational leaders how to host a Seder, so they in turn, would teach their congregations. Our hope was that all the families in all the congregations would host Seders in their homes. We would send instructions about the food and room layout to them, then we would travel to 4 or 5 cities the week of Passover and teach the leaders how to host the Passover Seder.
Q: As a Rabbi’s wife, what Passover traditions have you hoped to pass on to your family, the people in your life and the congregations with which you have been affiliated?
A: First of all, it’s important to remember that Passover is a celebration of the G-d of Israel delivering His people from slavery. The Passover Seder takes us through that adventure of deliverance step by step. Also, it’s important to recognize that Passover is a time for family and a time to emphasize hospitality. David and I will feel like our 40 plus years of hosting Passover Seders are successful if everyone we have hosted has a Passover Seder in their own home.