September 18, 2019

Passover is important, so you might as well go to a Seder

A couple of years ago I wrote an article about “the Passover test” – what ‎the Seder reveals about interfaith couples. Here’s what I wrote:‎

Five traditional Jewish practices are usually used as criteria in ‎studies tasked with assessing the viability of a Jewish community: ‎lighting Hanukkah candles, attending a Passover Seder, fasting on ‎Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), lighting Shabbat candles, and ‎keeping a kosher home. The first two—Hanukkah-candle lighting ‎and Seder attendance—tend to be those with the highest levels of ‎participation among the vast majority of Jews.‎

This was not something I invented – it is what I learned from studies of ‎the American Jewish community. According to the National Jewish ‎Population Survey, 67% attend a Seder, 72% light Hanukkah candles, ‎and 59% fast on Yom Kippur. And as I noted in the post:‎

The correlation between the Hanukkah-candle lighting and the ‎Passover Seder—the two most practiced rituals among American ‎Jews—is interesting. Hanukkah is more popular for most Jewish ‎groups. The reason is clear: The holiday competes with Christmas. ‎However, the more affiliated the group, the narrower the gap ‎between these two practices. The “highly affiliated” is the only ‎group in which Seder attendance surpasses Hanukkah candle ‎lighting (96 percent to 94 percent, according to the National ‎Jewish Population Survey). For the intermarried—couples with ‎one Christian spouse—the gap between the two practices is the ‎widest (85 percent celebrate Hanukkah; 41 percent celebrate ‎Passover).‎