Tuesday, July 3, 2012
For the last few years, talk show host Dennis Prager has been promoting the idea of celebrating the Fourth of July, America's Independence Day, with more than just hot dogs and hamburgers. His idea was to include a short ritual during the meal to make the holiday more meaningful, especially to younger members of the family.
The idea was to include readings by young and old about American independence, the asking of questions by the children, and the eating of symbolic foods that remind us of the significance of the day. If this sounds familiar, it is. Dennis modeled the ceremony on the Passover Seder. It has successfully kept the memory of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt alive for over 3,000 years, and the Fourth of July declaration ceremony is designed to keep the memory of American independence alive for future generations.
The declaration ceremony is explained in a four-page document that can be easily downloaded from the Prager University web site. It includes instructions for the host, the narrative, questions, and a list of materials and food needed for the ceremony. These include iced tea to remember the Boston Tea Party, salty pretzels to remember the tears shed in the Revolutionary War, a bell to recall the ringing of the Liberty Bell, and strawberries and blueberries dipped in whipped cream to celebrate the red, white, and blue of the American flag.
The ceremony ends with everyone signing their names on a clean copy of the Declaration of Independence, also downloadable from the site.
The video below shows Dennis Prager conducting the declaration ceremony at a Fourth of July barbecue picnic. We plan to do something similar tomorrow and hope that you will incorporate some of these elements in your own celebration. Enjoy!
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)