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Schuman Family Seder

My Great-Grandfather, Rabbi Avram Lipkofsky, Lomza, Poland, 1904

My Great-Grandfather, Rabbi Avram Lipkofsky, Lomza, Poland, 1904

I grew up as the youngest of eight children. Both of my parents were full-blooded Jews. My great-grandfather was a Jewish rabbi in Poland. His daughter, my Grandma Lilly, traveled by herself to the United States when she was 12 years old to escape the rising anti-semitism that would eventually lead to the holocaust. She eventually settled in St. Louis and married my grandfather, a Jewish shoe-maker. This is actually how we got our last name - “Schuman.”  

Grandma Lilly 

Grandma Lilly 

My mom and dad on Thanksgiving, 1952 in Macon, GA

My mom and dad on Thanksgiving, 1952 in Macon, GA

Some of my earliest and fondest memories were spent celebrating the Sabbath with my Mom lighting candles and reciting the Sabbath prayers every Friday evening. However, my absolute favorite holiday was, and continues to be, the Passover. I remember celebrating it every year with my family. My Dad would always wear a Guayabera shirt with its 4 large pockets, and as the youngest in the family, I would look forward to finding the hidden matzo and getting a reward from my Dad. Each year, I would anticipate eating the bitter herbs that would make me cry, but they were quickly followed by the delicious, sweet charoses (honey, apple, and nut mixture). And then, there was always my Mom’s famous matzo ball soup. She once told me that the secret ingredient is humility and prayer over the soup as it was cooking.  She said that if you were too prideful, the matzo balls would turn into cannonballs and would make everyone sick!  My Mom’s matzo ball soup was so good that I would sneak into the kitchen after dinner to get third and fourth helpings. The tastes, smells, textures, and Scripture readings of the Passover are deep in my DNA and consciousness. But, when I came into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, this meal took on a completely new meaning to me. It was like being in a darkened room, and then someone turns on all the lights, and then you realize magnificent, colorful masterpieces have been hanging on the walls the whole time! 

Schuman Family Portrait, Mt. pleasant, sc, 1974

Schuman Family Portrait, Mt. pleasant, sc, 1974

Since coming to faith in Jesus, the Passover celebration has taken a deeper, sweeter meaning to me. This is probably the most ancient, continually celebrated festival in the world.  Why did God command Moses and the Jews to eat this meal every year from the time it was instituted?  Because Jesus and the Gospel are so thoroughly communicated in this meal and would prepare the world for his coming thousands of years later. Every year I celebrate this meal, God reveals more layers to me of how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so deeply embedded in it. This makes me more in awe of God and more in love with Him.  

I have loved sharing this meal with my wife, kids, and friends who have all come to love it too.  And it is with great joy and anticipation, that I look forward to sharing it with my beloved church family at North! I believe as you partake of this ancient festival, you are going to grow in your love for Jesus, God’s gracious plan of redemption throughout the ages, and your understanding and experience of the Lord’s Supper will take on deeper meaning and joy in Jesus. I look forward to seeing you at the Passover on Thursday March 24th. Until then, Shalom!