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How will you tell the story this year?

Why do stories matter? 

One of the ways to build organizational culture (so says Professor Jenny Chatman, an organizational culture expert) is by sharing “key culture stories”.  These are the times when people on your team were working at their best, or when a key organizational value was on full display. Or it may be a time when your team overcame a large obstacle.

As an organizational leader, it is upon you to be a curator of these stories and to find the time, again and again, to share these stories at significant moments in your organizations’ life. By sharing our key culture stories we keep them rooted in organizational memory, focus our team on what’s most important, and motivate everyone to continue to strive.

With the Passover holiday coming up, I am thinking about ways that retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt is the “key culture story" that has sustained the Jewish people and motivates us to seek hope even in the most difficult times. 

And we are all its curators.

Each of us can decide which part of the story to emphasize in order to renew us during this trying time.

In that spirit, I am happy to share with you a piece I wrote for Seder leaders that appears in “The Seder Solidarity Supplement” for the new Israeli Haggadah, written by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion. Please find a link to it here. Or continue reading below.  

Wishing you and everyone you love a meaningful Passover holiday ahead.


Each year the youngest present at the seder table asks, “How is this night different from all other nights?” And this seder night, April 2024, ניסן תשפ׳׳ד, following October 7th, the Israel-Hamas war, the Iranian threat, and a steep rise of antisemitism the world over, so many of us are wondering, “How will this seder night be different from all other seder nights?”

While on other seder nights, we convened seders and retold the ancient story of our people’s liberation from Egyptian bondage; on this seder night, we are keenly aware that we are actors in Jewish history as it is unfolding. As such, we may be feeling an extra level of responsibility to make this Passover meaningful.

While on other seder nights, we welcome each generation in our family m’kol dor v’dor (from generation to generation), on this seder night, we are keenly aware of how strong political differences sometimes map onto generational divides. On this holiday of redemption, we may feel nervous about differences of opinions and perspectives that feel unredeemable. 

While on other seder nights, we feel empowered to design a seder experience that is relevant, engaging, and real, on this seder night we might feel the pull towards an evening that is unifying and avoid conversations that divide us.

While on other seder nights, the joy of Passover night is full; the promise of spring and the sense of renewal uplifts us, on this seder night we come to the table with mixed feelings. Some of us have an empty chair at our table for those who have been kidnapped and are being held hostage in Gaza. Others feel the painful absence of soldiers killed in combat. Still, others of us feel the ache for those who have been killed and are suffering on both sides of the conflict. Heartbreak and longing accompany us this seder night. 

For all of us who are hosting seder tonight, you are in a unique position. You are inviting your guests to be active participants in an ancient ritual that holds potential for healing, healthy discussion and hope.

The seder table is the stage upon which the ancient rite of retelling the story of our liberation takes place. Friends, family, and invited guests are the actors. And the Haggadah is our script.  As you prepare the stage for seder night, I invite you to consider these five conceptual frameworks to guide your preparation.

(To continue the article, click on the Times of Israel site here)

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