In first person: Generation to generation, the seder makes us family

Passover at my in-laws' was always an incredible outpouring of love, joy, humor and hubbub. My father-in-law, Harold Strick, a brilliant internist and cardiologist, always led the reading of the Haggadah, and he was a true impresario. Calling on each of us to read a paragraph, he kept the whole shebang moving along at a rapid clip, and his wit and exuberance made each year's reading fresh and exciting.

We did all the important rituals, hiding the matzah, serving symbolic foods, and also inviting family friends who were not Jewish. We held the door open for Elijah, and the youngest children, including my daughter a few years ago, read and answered the Four Questions.

Over the years, the reading of the Haggadah became more and more condensed, but we steadfastly maintained the spirit and beauty of this traditional holiday, carrying us through many difficult times.

One Passover seder, I brought my own special guest, Grandma Irene, who made gefilte fish by hand for more than 40 people. She worked three days, using three different kinds of fish. My in-laws and assembled family and guests never forgot this colossal effort.

As my daughter learns to say Hebrew prayers as a second-grader at Brandeis Hillel Day School, we are eagerly looking forward to this year's seder. My father-in-law has just passed away, but our memories are preserved forever.