Less than one week from now, at the next Friday, the Jews in Israel (and all over the world) will be celebrating the Pessach, the Jewish Passover ceremony. I must confess I was not really aware of all traditions and Israeli history until I start living in this country and actually taking an active role here and getting deeper on knowing its culture. And one of the things that stroke me, calling my attention, was the high number of holidays here (in a positive note obviously) and also the way Israelis and Jews more specifically celebrate their special days during the year.
While in Brazil, the place I am originally from, holidays are really connected to the idea of relaxing, travelling or do any other kind of leisure activity, here in Israel to celebrate the holidays has everything to do with being with the family. It is not by causality that there is an extra care of local people in making sure that individuals without family in the country (my case) have a place where to spend these exceptional occasions. It is almost hurtful for an Israeli to listen that a person does not have a place where to do the dinner, especially at Pessach, one of the most important dates of the year.
But this observation of mine actually represents a trait or a value which appear to be very remarkable in Israeli culture: the importance of the family, of creating occasions where everybody can gather together and spend time with each other. In Brazil, where, I believe, a much more individualistic culture has been developed, noticeably increasing in the last decades, it is not a common habit of all families to have meals together or celebrating holidays at a single and unique place. With the exception of Christmas, it is hard to remember another date where being with the relatives is a social compliance.
Even though part of me completely rejects social and moral obligations, the other half admires this Israeli way of valuing the family (even if this means to have my freedom of choice cut off a bit), since, at the bottom line, usually your relatives and parents are the ones who always will support and love you the most-although sometimes being with friends can potentially be much more fun. To remember this importance and to take a day or a night to actually have a quality life with your family does not seem to be a bad deal at all, and nothing better than a nice Pessach dinner to celebrate the occasion. Rag Samear!