With Passover having come and gone, I find myself in a sea of memories—yet at the same time I am so excited about the future. But it all came together with the food. Shopping for holiday dinners has always felt like I’m feeding my soul. Maybe it’s just the thought of singing the same songs, eating the same food, and saying the same prayers, but Passover always fills me with memories of my childhood.

Passover is different from many of the other holidays because of the nature and origin of the story behind it. Having been made slaves to the pharaoh, the Israelites made their way out of Egypt under the guidance of Moses and with the help of God; and they commemorated their freedom with a seven-day festival.

In modern times, the Passover Seder has become a lot like the Thanksgiving dinner; a time to include everyone and make sure neighbors and other members of the community are not alone while we celebrate. This year I heard that a long-lost cousin was going to be alone on the first night, so I invited her to my table.

We sang songs, read from the Haggadah, and asked the four questions—and I rather enjoyed my status of #1 Top Matriarch. The wine flowed as our traditions unfolded themselves through us, and I really believe my mother was by my side at a certain point. Being in the company of my favorite people was a welcome jolt of positivity.

But there is another message in Passover. All around the world there are people who are not free. Even here, where we have the right to be free, we’re slaves to fashion, money, and status. I’m not sure if the answer is to donate to charities, or to “be the change you want to see,” as Gandhi said. It’s probably a mixture of both.