So, is it wrong if I just change the Passover story a little bit?
Fresh from the library, I snuggled up on the couch with my (firstborn) son as we opened up a children’s book about Passover. After attempting to explain what slavery was –”They had to work very hard and never got to rest or play” we came to the section about the 10 plagues. With my son nestled against my arm, suddenly a lump formed in my throat. After reading about frogs and locusts, I skipped the tenth plague–the death of the first born. I just couldn’t read it.
My son is at the age where nothing gets past him. Every word he doesn’t understand gets questioned. And how on earth would I explain that one? Especially after I just yelled at him for pushing his baby sister. I mean, how can I teach him to be nice to his sister, if God is killing firstborn children? Read the rest of this entry →
I have a surprisingly bad attitude about Passover. I say surprisingly because I’m that enthusiastic kind of Jewish friend who is always inviting people to join us for Shabbat. I invite people to challah making sessions or to interesting Jewish book events and Torah studies. I generally tend to see the best in our holidays and traditions. In fact, my aunt once told me that even as far back as high school I was known in the family for trying to sell Judaism to anyone who would listen. She didn’t mean it as a compliment.
If the glass-half-full “being Jewish is fun” side of me annoys some of my friends and family, then they will absolutely love me during Passover when I’m something of a pill. I have a problem with Passover. Actually, I have four very specific problems.
1. I am burnt out by Passover.
Speaking in terms of the Jewish year and the school year, I’ve had enough by Passover. I’ve made roughly 28 kosher Shabbat dinners. I’ve served High Holiday meals, decorated a Sukkah and served meals in there, too. I’ve made Hanukkah as festive as possible for all eight nights. And for Purim I’ve put together dozens of mishloach manot for friends. I’m not proud to say it, but by Passover I’m feeling a bit Jewed out. And of course Passover requires the most work of all. Read the rest of this entry →
“Born Yesterday” is a comic featuring the trials and tribulations of first-time parent Chari, who lives in LA with her husband and son…thousands of miles away from their families and sources of immediate relief or back-up.
In a game of “which would you rather,” I would choose giving birth over flying cross-country with a toddler. And yet, we have another West Coast/East Coast round-trip planned in a couple of weeks for cousin Ava’s bat mitzvah and the first night of Passover. Save me.
Charlotte has already flown over half a dozen times, back and forth from Seattle to New York and a couple of times to California in her 18 months on earth. Half of the time my husband has flown with us. An equal number of flights I have braved air travel in solo parentis. Hats off to single parents everywhere. Flying alone with my toddler is pretty close to what I imagine hell might be like, if Jews believed in hell. Read the rest of this entry →
We have a Passover family tradition at our house. Every spring, whenever the holiday happens to fall (seriously, 2013? End of March?), a few days beforehand, the kids and I watch “The Prince of Egypt.”
This DreamWorks animated film released in 1998 is one of my favorites for bringing the annual story to life in a–more or less–accurate manner. Did rebellious teens Moses and Rameses really drag-race their horses and chariots around the pyramids and drop watermelons off of balconies? That answer, alas, is lost to history. (Though I was surprised to learn that watermelons were, in fact, mentioned in the bible as a food eaten by Israelites while they were in bondage in Egypt, and that watermelons are also depicted in ancient hieroglyphics. Who knew?) But, a rabbi friend did tell me that, because the bible says God spoke to Moses in his own voice, that’s Val Kilmer playing both Moses and God in the movie. Cool, huh? (Said the geek with the Masters in Media Analysis.) Read the rest of this entry →
Fresh off the Oscars buzz, Shalom Sesame has a very special Passover video a la Les Misérables, named, of course, Les Matzarables! Join the characters as they search high and low for a very special piece of matzah, the afikomen. Bonus: these muppets may just have better voices than Russell Crowe. Enjoy!
When it comes to Jewish holidays, family, and children, Passover is the Big Kahuna.
There’s no question that there’s something for the kids in almost every holiday: presents and gelt at Hanukkah, costumes at Purim, running around the yard at dinnertime during Sukkot. But when it’s time for the seder, the pressure is on. This is the most widely celebrated Jewish holiday, even among secular families. This is when we tell the Passover story, that iconic tale of oppression and enslavement, powerful leaders, bravery in the face of the unthinkable, and God’s redemption of the Israelites. Regardless of the details, this is the narrative of our people, and it’s one that we are compelled to pass along to our children. Read the rest of this entry →
From the outside, it might seem as if we set out to dismantle Passover seders one stalwart tradition at a time.
However, when I think back, Passover and seders have always had iconoclastic twists, although early on I wasn’t aware there was anything questionable about ours; we just had seder in this particular way, with this particular group of folks. For me, seder was always a woman-run affair; my mother and her good friend, Flora, did a second night seder together all through growing up and into adulthood (and often still). Around the time Flora lost her husband, my mother got divorced; both had young children and decided to team up for Passover. Infamously, Flora’s father-in-law (I think, I’m in apocryphal territory here) was an initial naysayer to the idea. Essentially, his objection went like this: girls cannot take the seder helm.
We’re giving away a copy of Laurel Snyder’s new Passover picture book, The Longest Night. A beautiful retelling of the Passover story through the eyes of a young Jewish girl, The Longest Night offers young kids a poetic and accessible look into the story of Passover.
To enter, fill out the form below. We’ll choose a winner next Wednesday, March 20th.