My family has always made an effort to make the Passover seder fun. Yes, we are retelling a very serious tale of fleeing bondage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have four question finger puppets or 10 plague interactive toys, right? It wouldn’t be our seder if we didn’t have a water gun to symbolize the slaying of the first born. As an only child, I was always the target.
Is it just the toys that make the holiday special? No. For me it’s about being with the extended family in New York, lovingly talking over each other, laughing harder than we laugh all year, retelling a story that Jews have been telling for centuries, and eating yummy food.
But, what does all of that mean in a year when my cousin’s due date is right in the heart of Passover time and I’ve started a diet which I’ve publicized online?
It means I’ll be celebrating with three seders in two cities while sticking to one diet.
Out here in Los Angeles, I will be celebrating Passover with my husband, daughter, my parents, and some friends. These two seders will be observed on the seder nights according to the Jewish calendar.
It’ll be far more intimate than “Faux-sover,” the name we’ve given to the month-delayed celebration we have planned in New York for mid-May. This will give my cousin and her hubby some time to adjust to being a family of three, while giving us out-of-towners a chance to meet the baby and still all celebrate together. Huzzah!
Now, what about the diet? Unfortunately I’m not on an all matzah, all macaroon, all Manischewitz diet. So, will I not eat the standing rib roast? Will I forgo the apple charlotte? Will I pass on the chocolate and caramel covered matzah? NO! NO! NO! Come on, I’m HUMAN!
So, why will these nights be different from all other nights on my diet? They’re special. They’re holidays.
But I won’t toss my diet out the door the minute I open it for Elijah. Instead of a whole matzah ball, I’ll eat half. Instead of asking for seconds (or thirds) of matzah brei (thick pancake-style, NOT scrambled) I’ll stick to what I ask for on my plate. And instead of picking at everything before we sit down for the seder, I’ll remove myself from the kitchen.
So, will Passover be any less Passover-y because I’m celebrating it with my “3-2-1” plan for celebration?
Passover means something different to everyone. To some it’s when you reflect on your past as a people or an individual. Or it’s a time to be with family. Or the one time of year you’ll eat gefilte fish or matzah cream cheese and jelly. Or a chance to remind yourself you are part of a much larger community who are celebrating in their own way. Or it means that Easter is near. Or it’s some conglomeration of all of the above.
By being able to celebrate over three seders instead of two and in two cities in order to meet the newest member of our clan (who will be shot with the water gun…c’mon, it’s my cousin’s first born! I’m gonna shoot my kid, too) and maintain my diet so I don’t step on the scale post-Passover and pass out because I threw away weeks of work by indulging in mounds of chopped liver, I’ll be all the happier for all of it.