Apr 15th, 2003


In my house we do the first night of Passover on the second night because of familial scheduling conflicts. On the second night, my sister-girl, her daughters, my husband, his brother and his brother's family and whatever other strays we can rope in come to my house for the seder. Marc has a box of plagues that he adds to every year. We have fake blood, rubber frogs, plastic ants, ping pong balls to stand in for hail, and way too much fun. I have a matzoh cover that my paternal grandmother made by hand and that my father remembers from his childhood eighty-odd years ago. We eat a mixed menu of sephardic and ashkenazik dishes, except for gefilte fish which I personally loathe and refuse to have in my house. And we tell the story of the Passover, using various and sundry haggadahs, because we can't find one we all agree on. My husband swears by the old Maxwell House give away. I prefer the one written by the former rabbi of the local Reconstructionist synagogue. Astrid prefers a more traditional book. The kids just love Marc's box of plagues. We eat and drink and sit at the table long after the littlest ones have found the afikomen.

And I love Passover. This is my favorite holiday of the year. For me it isn't so much about the story as it is about being part of something larger. I have photos of my family's seders from my childhood. Marc has the same. Every year I think about friends far away, and have a sense of comfort in knowing that we are doing the same thing, at the same time. Partaking separately in the same rituals. And my family, far flung and half estranged. And 80 years ago, my father was the youngest at his family's table, asking the four questions. For as far back as Jews can record history (well, since the event itself) there have been seders and children asking the questions. And in my mind's eye, I see the same thing going forward.

Passover, to me, transcends time and space and weaves all Jews in a web of connectedness. This, more than anything is what makes this holiday so dear to me. I never feel more at home in my skin than at the seder, never feel more of a Jew and what that means.

This year, may there be peace. Next year, in Jerusalem.