Passover and the Next Generation in MJ

I came to this topic because of an event we held at our congregation last night. My wife, who is creative and a lover of children, created a Passover experience party for the kids. We used many items available from Jewish bookstores, such as frogs that jump when you flip a tab in the back. We held frog races that Mark Twain would have been proud of. We had stickers that look like little red boils. The children put them on and screamed in mock agony. My wife put red Koolaid powder in the bottom of a glass and poured water in as the children gasped to see water turned to “blood.”

This morning one of the mothers called. She told me that her preschool children had the time of their life.

That got me thinking about the Next Generation in Messianic Judiasm. I don’t so much mean the youth, college age, or the young adults. I mean the children.

Most adults in Messianic Judaism grew up in either a secular environment or a church environment. Few of us, Jewish on non-Jewish, have happy memories of a meaningful Jewish home filled with the observances of Jewish life.

In fact, I think most of us in Messianic Judaism have fond memories of [gasp] Christmas. Those colorful glass balls decorating an evergreen tree, those carols playing on the stereo, and those fantastic little packages with goodies hidden inside fill us with nostalgia. I confess to sometimes listening still to carols on the local radio station.

The fact is, secular or religious, those family rituals and observances tailored for children, build something for a lifetime. And that is what we must be about doing in a positive way in Messianic Judaism.

The Seder is a one of those experiences. In my opinion, we need to add more for the children to the Seder or at least to Passover week. That Passover Experience party we had for the kids is now to be an annual event for us. Purim parties are an annual event. Hanukkah celebrations and camping out for Sukkot make our children’s lives meaningful.

We must create a Jewish Next Generation in Messianic Judaism. I do not mean we must isolate ourselves from Christianity or the surrounding culture. We must have a healthy connection with Judaism and Christianity. But when it comes to observances and family rituals, I believe these must be Jewish and they must be made to cater to our children.

The Haggadah reminds us again and again that the Seder is for the children. May we all have wise sons and daughters and not wicked or simple ones.

In our congregation, as I’m sure in many others, there are those special times that are building in our children’s lives something that will last. For us, in addition to Passover, I would say our most precious time is Sukkot [Tabernacles]. At our congregation, we take it literally that we are to be outdoors and dwelling with God for the feast. We make one giant Sukkah [Booth of branches] for the whole group and we camp around it in tents. When the weather is nice, some of us even sleep in the Sukkah [easier done in the climate of Israel].

My wife has told me that the kids frequently say to her, “When is it going to be Sukkot?” That reminds me of my childhood experience, asking, “When is Christmas coming?”

We are building something solid, Jewish, and Biblical in our children’s lives. Let’s get to work.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Messianic Jewish, Passover. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Passover and the Next Generation in MJ

  1. Ha Tikvah says:

    Just to wish you a Blessed Passover and Easter celebration! I firmly consider this to be by far and away our most important Holy Holiday in a sense and am quite glad in some respects that the commercial world decided to hijack Christmas – it would be intolerable if this time of year ended up in a similar fashion. At least the peace at this point in the year allows us to more suitably reflect on the awesome event that changed history some 2000+ years ago. BLessings, TKR.

  2. Jeannie Smith says:

    One really strange aspect of raising my kids Jewish is that I am Jewish (because my mom is) but I was raised in a very secular environment. Now my mom and I have very interesting conversations about all the Jewish things my kids and I are doing.

    My mom says her biggest regret in life is not raising me Jewish. When I first came to faith in Yeshua, she was absolutely devastated because this meant to her that all chances were lost that I would ever be Jewish or raise my kids Jewish. Now she is genuinely confused because we are more observant Jews than she is!! But the confusion is hopefully sparking a call within her, or at least a curiosity, and one day – Let it be so Lord! – she will come to Hope of David to hear the Jewish daughter that she didn’t raise to be Jewish, chant from the Torah scroll in Hebrew. Let it be so Lord, that she would come just once to understand You as You are and to see her personal need for Yeshua.

    Thanks Lemans for all the heart you put into us for His sake!!!

  3. Sholom to you Mr Leman and to all your fellow Jews. I am Australian Messianic Gentile believer who has profited greatly from writings such as yours. In regard to this artical, it is a commendable effort to harmonize the Gospels and John. However even though I also reject the other theories presented, it can be foreseen that this one will also fall short. It fails on the basis of consistant typeology. Jeshua the lamb of G-d chosen on the 10th of Nisan = Triumphal entry. More importent, he is our passover lamb 14th of Nisan = cruxifiction, not 15th and the first fruits 16th of Nisan = resurrection, not 17th or after? In addition to this any theory must also account for the 6th of Sivan = feast of pentecost, the giving of the law,50 days counted from the day after the weekly sabbath. That is, the first day of the week MT 28:1. The presupposition of scriptural inerrantcy is true, the reason that attempts do not work to date is that there are several pieces missing with which to construct a propper framework.

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