Spring & Passover: A great time to get outside…and read!

Spring is one of the happiest times of the year. Sunny days and Purim celebrations make this time of year truly enjoyable for everyone. We don’t have to feel guilty about eating sweets and tasty Hamantaschen, and drinking an extra glass of wine.

Religion was prohibited in the communist Soviet Union, and it was very hard to be openly Jewish. A Jew risked losing his job, and could even get arrested for observing his holidays and traditions. However, in spite of the difficult circumstances, Jews secretly celebrated Purim, baked Hamantaschen and delivered it to relatives and friends.

Here in the US, we can openly celebrate Purim. You can take Hamantaschen to your favorite place and enjoy eating it openly anywhere, including public places; and you can read your favorite books and magazines at the same time.

One magazine I especially like to read is Time magazine—an authoritative and informative guide to what is happening today in current affairs, science and entertainment, politics, business, and health. Launched 100 years ago two Yale University graduates — Brion Hayden and Henry Luce — the magazine’s first issue was published on March 3, 1923. It was the first weekly news magazine in the US, as well as the first to sort news into categories - national affairs, foreign affairs, the arts. Hadden and Luce originally called the magazine Facts, to emphasize the straight to the point publication that they were striving for. They later adopted the title Time, and then the slogan “Take Time—It’s Brief”.

Time has consistently embodied its own style of writing and is known for its signature red border on the cover of the magazine. This border was changed to black for the issue printed just after the September 11, 2001, to reflect a nation in mourning.

Jewish people like to read. At times like Passover, books are a bridge between the Jewish present and past, linking modern Jews with the Israelites who escaped Egypt. At other times, books provide inspiration for the future, as in Theodor Herzl’s The Jewish State, a political pamphlet that prophesied the creation of the state of Israel.

All winter we have been stuck inside, eating our meals and reading. Now, with spring upon us, we can enjoy the warmer weather by heading outside to our backyards, opening our verandas, or going to the park to enjoy some quality time, interesting reading and good food.

The internet boom has affected nearly all publications since newspaper and magazine companies have had to adapt to demands for online services. Still, data from YouGov Profiles reveals that just under half of Americans (47%) and the majority of Britons (58%) say they get more enjoyment from reading magazines in print than online. This sentiment grows with age. More than two-thirds of British consumers (70%) and two-fifths of American consumers (61%) aged above 55 say they prefer reading magazines in print.

Online services are amazing. It is up to us to decide what we want to read. Passover is coming, we can read printed Haggadah’s at home, or go online and create our own Haggadahs with pictures, colors, translations in different languages, etc. You can print it for free. You can also invite friends or seder guests to log in and participate in the Haggadah-making. When you’re done, you can print out your Haggadah or download to your guests’ mobile devices.

Enjoy spring and the holidays!

The New American Acculturation Program provides educational classes, programs and holiday celebrations. For more information, including sponsorships of specific programs,

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