‘ Yi Hyena be Seder’
‘ Mi Dei Pa’ am’, Hebrew for ‘From Time to Time’, explores the beauty of how Gentile meets a Jew, separated by an elusive gossamer veil of religious division. The cultural significance of religion, woven through societies’ fabric and threaded throughout ‘Mi Dei Pa’ am’, has seen many changes.
Post-war Britain, frozen in rigid class structures, restricted by religious barriers, ripe for change, emerged out of a segregated world, yearning for a golden time of integration and assimilation.
May 1945, VE night. ‘May’, a symbol of new beginnings, a sign of Spring, fresh starts. ‘Maeve’, born in May, named for the month.
‘Mi Dei Pa’am’ opens on a war-weary Manchester, joyously celebrating the end of hostility in Europe where Jake, our heroine’s first love, whispers, ‘Ani ohev otach,’ ( I love you ).
‘Ani ohevet otach,’ she murmurs back ( I love you too ).
‘ Yi Hyena be Seder,’ he tells her ‘Everything will be well.’
‘That evening, as they celebrated the end of the hardships and evil of World War Two and the dawn of a new era of peace, friendship and love, Maeve had believed him.’
The birth of ‘the peace’, like Maeve’s new life, succeeded a long confinement following the demise of an old order and the rise of new dawn launched on a sometime-turbulent sea.
April 1945 marked the end of Passover, a Jewish festival revisiting the liberation of Jews from enslavement in Egypt three-thousand years before. Three-thousand years later, close to Passover, when the story of the exodus from Egypt is retold in the Haggadah (the telling ), the cruel reality of Hitler’s concentration camps was discovered as the emaciated Jewish victims in Europe were liberated.
The irony of the liberation of enslaved Jews is undeniable.
As we approach Yom HaShoah, the day of mourning for the Holocaust, we reflect on one of the darkest moments of systematic, industrialized mass murder in human history.
April 27th, 2019, marked the last day of the Passover. In a Californian synagogue, the struggle for a peaceful Jewish identity on the last day of Pesach was violated by a shooting in a synagogue where one woman lost her life.
This, hot on the heels of horrendous atrocities in the name of religion or racism against Muslims in New Zealand and Christians in Sri Lanka.
A promised land, where difference is celebrated not mistrusted, has not been realized, its failure fuelled by global religious intolerance, extremism and nationalism: enter stage right, Trump and Brexit.
Christmas Eve and the Sabbath, in December 1954 as ‘Mi Dei Pa’ am’ ends, fell on the same day.
The closing paragraph describes the meeting of two families from different religions.
‘Shalom and Merry Christmas,’ Ben ( Maeve’s son ) piped up to everyone’s delight.
‘Shalom and Merry Christmas,’ they all repeated, laughing.
‘Amein,’ said Manny.
‘Amein,’ my darling said Vee, ‘Amein’.