(Editor's Note: I originally posted this Passover tribute on April 10, 2009 for a Spin Cycle, but it still holds true this year. I did end up forgetting to bring the matzo in yesterday so it made the trip to Sprite's school this morning. Along with a dozen hardboiled eggs for Easter Egg coloring because I sign up for EVERYTHING. Does this seem a little sacreligious to anyone? Meh. The kids will be getting some very mixed up culture today. If I haven't mentioned it yet, and I think I haven't, a happy Passover to all my Jewish friends, and a happy Wednesday to everyone else. I'll be lifting a glass for you on Friday.)
(And yes, this counts for a Spin Cycle. I'm linked!)
When I was a kid, I loved Passover. Passover, for those Gentiles who don't know, is a seven day feast celebrating the Isrealites' freedom from the Pharoah, their resulting wandering across deserts, parted seas, and subsequent movie spoofs. (History of the World Part I is a definite favorite.) The most traditional form of celebration is a dinner called a sedar. At a Passover sedar, we recount the miracles that happened, we eat the matzo (great with butter, by the way), and drink the wine until we reach the inebriated state as to place OURSELVES into the legends. Things can get VERY confusing. And the more people invited to the sedar, the more noise, the more things break, and the more the merrier.
My grandparents (MY Baba and Zieda) usually hosted the meal when I was younger and aunts, uncles, and cousins would jockey for position to hear the stories, pass the book where everyone took turns reading aloud (and the others took turns trying to trip up the spotlighted reader) about the times in Egypt, and of course, there was a kid's table, since we couldn't be trusted around the good china. Plus, when the pickle spears and olives were set out before the meal? It was an all out war between the cousins. (I STILL have some battle scars.)
I remember nothing but good times at these events, and even though there were some boring parts to the reading ("If you don't want to read, just pass the book on to your uncle, Jen."), and I still don't like eating raw horseradish ("Just place it on the side of your plate and stop making faces, Jenny."), and Manischewitz wine makes me queasy ("That'd better be grape juice in your glass, Jennifer Lynn!"), I still love matzo ball soup ("If one more person makes a comment about how hard their balls are, I'm going to hit them!") and the feelings of togetherness. ("Lee Ann! Jennifer! Do I have to separate you two?")
When you can look around the table at your family members and think nothing but good thoughts, your life is blessed. And mine was.
I still am, for even though my family is strewn all over the Eastern seaboard, I know they're thinking of me on this holiday. And I will be having my own sedar this year with John's friend Trevor in attendance. (Trevor, you're bringing the wine, right?) This will be a small sedar in relation to the standing room only feasts I have attended in the past, but I want Sprite to experience this as I did, even if we're without most of the extended family.
At least she won't be fighting anyone for a pickle spear..