Our three or four hour seder meal is never eaten in haste, (in general, the more religious you are, the less hasty you are, unlike those swift Samaritans). And alas, there is only the lamb shank bone on the seder plate to recall the soulful bleats of the slain sheep. But for me, whether the Exodus happened or not (I’m in the camp that believes it did), at the center of the seder is a hope that miracles exist; that those enslaved--to their jobs, their Blackberries, their desires, their physical looks, their children--may be set free. Every year I feel gratitude that this holiday brings together an eclectic collection of family and friends who are truly authentic unto themselves. We chant and laugh and pray and argue here in America where so many of us struggle to hold onto our past selves and histories, even as we have re-invented ourselves--choosing botulism, Buddhism or both.