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Apr 10 2012

More Passover Videos From Our Readers

By at 4:34 pm

Yesterday, we asked you to share with us any adorable videos of your kids at the seder, and some of you definitely delivered! Here are two videos that were sent into us by Kveller readers Liz and Amanda.

First, from Amanda, her 2-year-old daughter Sari singing Dayenu! She even gives us a special holiday greeting at the end:

Next up from Liz, here is her 6-year-old daughter Rita doing the Four Questions… in sign language! So amazing!

Thank you for sharing your home movies with us!

Passover Seder, Meet Pregnancy Brain

By at 2:01 pm

table set with plates and glassesAs you may have read before, this year my husband and I hosted our very first seder. At 33 and ½ weeks pregnant, the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a car for five hours to travel to my family’s house for Passover, so instead we made everyone come to us. In theory, that was a great plan. In practice, however, it was way more stressful than I anticipated.

We had 10 people coming to our seder–parents, siblings, aunts, and other family. Not huge, but not nothing either. I planned out my schedule in advance; making the chicken soup and freezing it, making the matzah kugel a few days early, marinating brisket, and outsourcing the potato kugel, quinoa salad, and desserts. I thought we had it all under control. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 9 2012

Send Us Your Passover Videos!

By at 12:27 pm

Were any videographers in attendance at your seder this weekend? Here’s a video from Kveller contributing editor Sarah Tuttle-Singer of her beautiful children singing the Four Questions. If you captured some footage of your seder that you’d like to share with the rest of Kveller, leave links in the comments below, or send them to info@kveller.com.

Apr 6 2012

Happy Passover!

By at 12:37 pm

Pesach starts tonight and we wanted to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday. This festival of unleavened bread is one of the most celebrated holidays of the Jewish year, so get out there and have at it! And when you’re looking in the fridge later this week, wondering what to eat, don’t forget to come back and check out our recipes. Or if your kids are making you crazy, set them up with a craft or two.

And don’t forget–even though this is one of those holidays that comes with lots of stress (cleaning, cleaning, cleaning)–it’s still about being together with family and friends and celebrating that. So enjoy!

Chag sameach!

Apr 5 2012

Bringing the Seder to the Hospital

By at 3:03 pm
grandpa with baby girl

My dad with one of my daughters, Maya.

One year ago, I blogged in this space about how I’d be skipping the seders. I was pregnant with twins, and my scheduled c-section fell on the morning of the second seder. My husband and I were sure that God (and our parents) would forgive us if we sat the seders out, just that once. So instead of a Hillel sandwich and my mom’s farfel-apple-kugel, we had veggie burgers (no buns) and went to sleep early.

Fast-forward eleven months. It’s Passover again, and preparations for a seder at my parents’ house have been underway for weeks. My dad bought the new Safran Foer/Englander haggadah and he has the plastic frogs ready to keep the kids occupied. My mom’s placed her gigantic order of meat at the neighborhood kosher butcher and she’s already changed over all the dishes in her kitchen. I’ve bought all the ingredients for my kosher-for-Passover mandel bread, just about the only thing I know how to bake and my (sorta pathetic) contribution to the meal.  Jon isn’t on call this weekend, and the family—ours, my two sisters with their husbands and children, my aunt and uncle, great aunt and cousins—will all be together for the seders once again.

Except we won’t, because we just found out there won’t be a seder, after all.

On Tuesday, my dad was admitted into the hospital and today we were informed that he won’t be discharged until Sunday. So he’ll miss the seders. And we’ll miss the seders. And Passover will pass us by, again. Read the rest of this entry →

Haggadah Hoarding, Maxwell House Style

By at 12:38 pm

The one constant in all of my years of Passover seders.

I have haggadahs. Many different haggadahs. Every year I buy a couple thinking I’ll pick one and then buy enough for everyone at the seder. This year I even got into the DIY Seder thing and threw around some ideas to make my own.

But I never end up picking a haggadah. And I never end up getting copies for everyone. Because I can’t seem to get over my current haggadah. From Maxwell House.

I grew up with them. You know the ones. They were in a stack at Waldbaum’s every spring and your mom grabbed a bunch. And then she kept them in the cabinet nestled in between the box of Shabbat candles and the dreidels.

Oh Maxwell House Haggadah–your impossibly old school Americanized Ashkenazi Hebrew transliterations (haroseth?), awkward King James bible sounding English (speaketh? Thee and Thou?), and hills like rams and mountains like lambs; with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm you got yourself a place in my heart.

(I would like to note that I’m not looking at the haggadah right now and this is from memory.)

I’m nostalgic (ferklempt?) over a free grocery store haggadah sponsored by a coffee company.

And every year I think to myself I can afford to buy a nice haggadah. And I can buy them for everyone at the seder. And every year I come to the conclusion that it just isn’t Pesach without Maxwell House.

Mayim Bialik also has something to say about Maxwell House Haggadah.

Apr 3 2012

Semi-Last-Minute Kid-Friendly Seder Ideas

By at 3:02 pm

You want to engage your kids in the seder. But it’s almost here and you haven’t quite figured out how to make that happen yet. Never fear.  Here are a few easy, low-effort ways to make the seder more entertaining for the preschool/younger kid set.

1. EVERY YEAR, I WRITE THE BOOK! Sit your kids down and ask them to dictate the story of Passover to you. Write what they say down word for word, including ‘um’ and ‘you know’ and run-on sentences. DO NOT HELP THEM: the ‘blooper’ characteristic of this is what makes it so wonderful.  Once they have done so, pick out a few elements of their stories out and ask them to make a drawing to match (“Can you draw the Red Sea splitting in half for me?”). Then put the text you’ve written together with their drawings, and make a cover saying, “Kid 1 and Kid 2 Passover Story, 2012.” If you are really ambitious, you can make color copies to hand out at the seder.  If not, just pass this one around. Trust me, it will be a keepsake.

2. WORK HARD, RELAX RIGHT. Get some pillowcases and markers, and let the kids go to town on them, with Passover-related or abstract art work. Then put pillows in them for people’s seats so they can chillax in freedom-lovin’ style. Offer the pillowcases as a ‘souvenir’ if you find them too, um, aesthetically challenging. Hint: Let these artworks dry before putting them on seder chairs.

Read the rest of this entry →

Interviews with Interesting Jews: The Shiksa in the Kitchen

By at 11:55 am

Tori Avey is a food blogger and culinary anthropologist and you would never guess she hasn’t been Jewish her entire life. Tori found that in many ways food brought her to Judaism and she has explored her spiritual path through immersing herself in traditional Jewish cooking which she shares at Shiksa in the Kitchen. She officially converted to Judaism in 2010 and regularly hosts over 40 people at her house for Seder.

1. Jewish holidays like Hanukkah and Purim are easy to share with non-Jewish family, but Passover, the seder in particular, can be intimidating and sometimes confusing. How do you share this traditional meal with your non-Jewish family?

One of my favorite things about food is that it breaks down all boundaries–a yummy meal is something we can all agree on, no matter where we come from or what our background is. Passover is such a food-oriented holiday, which makes it a great opportunity to bring people together. Taking a moment to explain the blessings–and why we’re doing strange things, like eating bitter herbs–helps everybody to enjoy the evening more. My non-Jewish family actually looks forward to the seder. My mom likes to help me cook. Usually I have 40-50 guests for my seder, and many of them aren’t Jewish, but everybody has fun… it’s a festive evening of storytelling, singing, tradition, and incredible food. As a Jewish family, it’s a way for us to welcome others in, to help them better understand our faith. What’s not to like? Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 2 2012

Passover Fun for the Kids: It’s Raining FROGS!

By at 2:02 pm

You too can have sticky frogs to entertain the kids at your seder.

If you’re inviting children to your seder, it’s always nice to have a few fun things planned for them. Sure we all love belting out all eleven verses of Chad Gadya at the top of our lungs (anybody?) but it is a long meal with lots of adult talking going on. Last year our friends hosted a seder and had adorable plague masks for the children to pick out and wear. It was a great addition that made the meal more kid-friendly.

This year I came up with a little favor for the kids at your Passover table. And for less than $1 per child it provides endless entertainment. Read the rest of this entry →

Passover Crafting

By at 9:45 am

Though I love to look at other people’s crafts, I myself am not exactly a crafty person. But I thought that perhaps you, like me, might want to check out some of the cool stuff that people are planning for Passover. (If you haven’t yet seen our Kveller Crafts Pinterest board, you might want to stop there too!)

First stop is the gorgeous afikomen cover here on Kveller. It’ll add a special twist to your matzah hunt.

We also think that this recycled seder plate is a great activity. Read the rest of this entry →

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