Nisan is the month of freedom. Corresponding to late March or April in the Georgian calendar, it is the month when we throw off the shackles of winter, and emerge to our renewed outdoor lives. It is the month of Passover, the time of remembering years in slavery and the move to freedom. We link to generations past and future, as the ancient story is recounted to even the youngest among us, so that all might learn and remember.
In North America, it is the month of not-yet-spring, of buds peaking out from branches that went stark for the winter. In Israel, it is Spring, it is small flowers bursting out and the transition to a time of when the outdoors expands life from the restrictions of cold winter. This is the time of the very early fruit, and of the blossoms of fruit trees that in their natural beauty hold the promise of more to come.
The new beginnings of Spring correspond to the new beginnings of the year. The Hebrew calendar gives us four New Years, four times to think of the renewal and changes as we move forward in time. Nisan is the head of months; the first month on the Jewish calendar.
In the video on the left, a glass cup represents Miriam’s well, providing water during years of wandering. The original Art Deco cup belonged the same woman we see in many of the other videos in this series. In the center video we imagine wandering in the desert, and seeing or imagining far off fields of grain. In the video on the right painted leaves and flowers remind us of wallpaper and other decor common just a few generations ago.
music: traditional Yiddish song, performed by Sylvia Rubin Tepperman
electronic music: contemporary composer Bob Gluck