Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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I love how this year Good Friday and the first night of Passover fall on the same day, meaning Easter Sunday also overlaps with Passover! It’s like the rare times when Christmas and Chanukah are celebrated at the same time.


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What makes this year even more unusual is Easter and Passover fall during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


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What are the odds of that? And that’s a rhetorical question. Please don’t start sending me statistics.


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The numbers are not important. But, it is a much-needed reminder that, although different religions celebrate different holidays, we are similar because we all place importance on faith and tradition.


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Says the woman who’s not a fan of holidays and wants to get them over with as soon as possible, sometimes even ignoring them.


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It is not holidays that I dislike … it is how their significance has gotten lost by all the insincere celebrations. And, the commercialism.

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Well, short of selling matzo, gefilte fish, and Passover honey cake, I’m not sure how you commercialize Passover.

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But, do you understand the meaning behind the foods and the traditions? That is what is getting lost. And although Jewish, I have always tried to understand and reconcile many Christian holidays with my own beliefs.

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To use one of your favorite words … why?

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Why try to better understand other people’s beliefs to further my own knowledge? Why try to find connections to remind me that we may have more in common than differences? Or, why take the time to respect and appreciate other holidays and traditions?

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I’m sorry I even asked.

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So, why did you take that Comparative Religions class at Wake Forest? Which, I might add, you have told me countless times was one of your favorite classes.

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Because it was required. And while I thought it would be interesting, I never expected it to be fascinating. It really opened my eyes as it made me realize that although the major religions of the world have many differences, they also have so much in common.

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Exactly. So, what do you remember about Easter?

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How when Natasha and Sawyer were young, they loved Easter, with its bunnies and candy. Between making and decorating colored eggs, buying those overly sweet marshmallow Peeps in seemingly every color under the sun, and you taking us all out for the Omni Hotel’s amazing Easter Sunday buffet brunch, it was always a favorite holiday.

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I was talking about your religion class. I know Lent starts on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days in preparation for celebrating the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.


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You’re Jewish; what else is there for you to know?


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I am trying to find common ground since Jews do not believe in many of the “facts” of Christianity that are a fundamental part of Easter. But I do think, to some extent, that I have the meaning of Easter figured out.


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Don’t take this the wrong way, but for the millions of people that celebrate Easter, I think they figured it out a long time ago.


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I meant for me personally. Easter makes me truly appreciate my friends, as it reminds me that people are not all alike, and that some things have no common ground to be found. But, it does not mean that there cannot be love and respect.


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I’m confused. Aren’t you the one that’s always saying how, if people realized that we have more in common, the world would be a better place? That when we focus on our differences, we tend to divide things, and people, into “right” and “wrong” and end up with “us” and “them”. Which nowadays seems to be getting worse, not better.


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Finding similarities is very different from being identical. And, that is the significance of Easter for me. Because religion is about reflection and faith, it is a reminder that different is different – not good or bad – just different.


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So, I’m almost afraid to ask. When you were growing up, before you looked for “meaning” in holidays, did you ever see any “connection” between Easter and Passover?


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Do you remember Mom making egg salad from all those leftover Easter eggs?


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I hate when you answer a question with a question.


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Just answer the question.


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Yes, of course. She was never going to waste all those hard-boiled eggs.


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Well, I remember her putting that Easter egg salad on leftover matzo. Does that count as a “connection”?

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

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I may not celebrate Rosh Hashanah by going to temple, and now that the girls are no longer home for the holiday, I don’t prepare a seder with the traditional foods . But I know and appreciate that it’s one of the most important Jewish holidays, as it’s a time for reflection on the past and hope for the future. And this year, between world events, where I feel surrounded by so much negativity, and on the personal front, with Mom’s passing, it seems more important than ever before.


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Although Rosh Hashanah is filled with traditions, like apples dipped in honey because it is believed apples have healing properties (think of the rhyme, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”), and the honey signifies the hope for a new year that will be sweet … it is still incredibly relevant. In today’s hectic world, a contemplative holiday where you stop and think about the road you have traveled over the last year (including any wrong turns) and where you would like to go in the future may be exactly what we all need.

We wish everyone who celebrates Rosh Hashanah a happy and sweet New Year. And remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to look back and reflect … and then try to do better in the future.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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So, I had to smile when Sawyer came to visit us at Mom’s estate sale. And even though I had seen her only a few hours before, I gave her a hug.


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Yes, you make it rather obvious that you are warm and fuzzy. And, a hugger.


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But what made me laugh was when she greeted you by acknowledging that you weren’t a hugger. Now there’s an understatement.


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No, it is merely a fact.


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I never realized, though, just how much both Natasha and Sawyer are like you. Although they begrudgingly let me hug them, they’d both be just as happy with a handshake. If that.


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Maybe a fist bump?
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Credit: Photo by Maha1450 on iStock


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I know you celebrate Labor Day by just, well, laboring away on Red & Black. But that’s how you celebrate most holidays. For me, I always enjoy celebrating the last three-day weekend of the summer, although the challenge will be deciding what to do this Labor Day. Escape to a movie (ok, my passion’s the popcorn), go to Dunkin’ for a leisurely coffee (it always brings back memories of growing up in New York), read, or climb into bed and watch old episodes of Downton Abbey. Or, maybe “all of the above”!

But before you say anything, yes, I’m well aware that today’s more than a day off and a potential “cut-off” for wearing white (😊). It’s about honoring American workers and all the many contributions they’ve made and continue to make.


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I know you love history, but do you know the history of Labor Day includes violence and a deadly railroad strike? And, was a way for politicians to “prove” they cared about workers? It is too bad people do not typically walk around thanking others for the work they do (imagine the impact if we did), but maybe you will get inspired by these Labor Day quotes.

And, in terms of me “laboring” today. Of course, I am. I look forward to the quiet time of weekends, especially long ones, to work on strategic projects needing large blocks of uninterrupted time or one of my passion projects. To you, it might appear as if I am “working”, but I am doing what makes me happy. Although tomorrow morning, you may not be happy when you find all my emails that will be waiting in your inbox.