My older daughter is almost five, and for the first time, I am making her keep kosher-for-Passover. Yes, that’s right in years past the husband and I kept KFP but I let my kid eat her usual diet of fruits, veggies, bagels and noodles.
This decision always made my husband a little uncomfortable, but I felt: why would I make a 2 year old follow rules for a holiday she doesn’t understand? It has no meaning for her.
But now she is older, more aware and has taken great pleasure in learning about Passover at school, singing songs and understanding, at least at a preschool level, the story of the Jewish people and this holiday. It felt like the right time.
Of course when I told her there would be no noodles or bread, she had a little bit of a meltdown. But after the crying, we talked about all the good stuff of Passover: spending time with her cousins, singing all our favorite songs, and making yummy foods like schnitzel (we use matzah meal instead of bread crumbs), and matzah ball soup and even matzah “candy.”
I am always of the mind that as Jews we should do what is meaningful, not necessarily what we assume is the top-down “right way.” How could a 2 or 3 year old being denied their usual diet receive meaning from the holiday? For my kids, I always want being Jewish to have a positive association, not negative or that it is deprivation in any way.
Judaism and the Jewish community should add value, and that’s what I want to emphasize for my kids. I hope this year begins to lay the groundwork for Ella to feel prideful about the history of the Jewish people, our story and the Passover rituals, even if for a week, she can’t eat noodles.
Here are some of the foods we will be enjoying. Let us know your favorites for keeping the kids satisfied (and you sane) all week. Happy Passover! Chag Sameach!