Monday, March 26, 2007
COUNTDOWN TO PESACH
Except for only twice over the past thirty years - more or less - I have spent Pesach with Ouri and Devora and their kids - and sometimes my extended family (the Cohens and Sklars and Steins from England and Scotland) and with Ouri and Devora's extended family - the Nagars from Ramat HaSharon - and close friends like Irit from Givatayyim. Even when Devora was living in the States as visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania Ouri came over for Pesach and we had Seder with my friends Alan and Jess in New York.
Once during all that time I had Seder with my cousins Dizza & Pazzi and Aya & Amihud (not because I don't love them but because Pesach belongs to Devora and Rosh HaShana belongs to Dizza) - and once with Myra and Arnon at Arnon's brother and sister-in-law's Dudu & Rochele.
This year was going to be somewhat different. Ouri & Devora decided to opt out of Seder - Ouri had a "juk b'rosh" (a cockroach in the head - a bee in his bonnet) - and decided that Pesach wasn't for him this year. Dizza & Pazzi are going off to Crete - so what was I going to do?
Well, my gentle readers (shades of Victorian novels) - there are times I think that despite my Jewish-soap-opera life I am really one lucky lady. In answer to "What are you doing for Pesach?" - when I replied "I'm not sure yet" - the invitations began to pour in. From Ros and her daughter Atanya to Atanya's mother-in-law's house where they always have Seder. From Roz to be with her family. From Brenda to be with her family. From Myra and Arnon. From Marallyn.
And in the end - because Ouri has gotten rid of his "juk" - I'll be - as usual - with Ouri & Devora and the Nagars (O & D's "mechutanim" - a word for which there is no English equivalent - it means the parents of a child's spouse). And I'll be thinking of all my friends who invited me - and because of whom I know I'll never be alone on a holiday.
So - now begins the countdown to Pesach. Yesterday I bought all the "had pa'ami" (one time use) containers to transport the food I'm making. Today Ros and I are going to a Pesach food and gift fair - who knows what we'll find? Tomorrow I have to go to the shuk to order my fish for gefilte fish and buy the dried fruits for the compote - what's Pesach without compote? And then I have to buy all the bits and bobs for the rest of my contributions - nuts and eggs and chocolate chips and matza meal and matza cake flour and potato flour - and... and...and...
I'll keep you posted on how it's all going. The truth is we all complain about how much work there is to get ready for Pesach - but the truth also is that we love it - the continuity - the connection - the fact that never ever in my life have I ever not gone to a Seder - preparing the same traditional foods - and being with friends and family. And the truth also is - I'm glad I live in Israel because here we only celebrate one night of Seder!!
Michal in Pardes Hanna, formerly from California, USA
Can't believe it's almost Pesach again - and this year I'm doing the whole seder - have friends coming from the UK and, of course, Israel.
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