I’m hosting the first night of Passover this year. I always wanted to and now it’s finally happening. A little too excited, I sat down to plan the menu and list of people coming. Perfection. That was until I called to invite my aunt, uncle, and cousins. I forgot that it is also Good Friday that same night.
I guess after being married to my husband for almost five years, Jewish holidays are engrained in my brain. Not growing up Jewish myself, you would think I would remember when Good Friday is and remember that my Christian relatives cannot eat meat that day.
So here I am. Hosting the Passover I always wanted to host. Except I can’t serve bread products, and I can’t serve meat.
Initially I panicked and thought about canceling. Images of my mother-in-law’s seder table flashed through my mind. The table had meat on it, with a side of mustard, topped with some more meat, and some extra meat on the side. And while I’m sure there are vegetarian Passover seders out there, but my in-laws are not having them.
I can usually juggle my interfaith family well, but the Easter/Passover overlap is downright brutal. Especially when you take into account the dietary restrictions. Highlighting our differences rather than our similarities, these two holidays have required some creative planning over the years.
My husband and I decided long before we got married that we would both keep Passover. And our son will eventually keep Passover when he is older. We also decided that on Easter, I would be able to opt out of the Passover dietary restrictions and partake in the Easter meal with my relatives. We always celebrate Easter with my Italian relatives and obviously, their very good Italian food. And each year I bring Passover-friendly food for my husband, so that he can celebrate with us but also keep Passover. It helps that my aunt always gives my husband leftovers to indulge in after Passover has ended.
This arrangement might seem bizarre to some, but year after year it has worked well for us. And personally, I think it highlights the respect my husband and I have for each other, our marriage, and our different family traditions. That is until this year, when I would be hosting the first seder and we would be going to my in-laws for the second seder. That’s the thing about being an interfaith family–it keeps you on your toes, keeps you communicating, and keeps you creative.
My husband and I talked it over, and after seeing some recipes for matzah lasagna and vegetable dishes, my feelings of fear changed to a feeling of “challenge accepted.”
So, I will be hosting my first Passover as an interfaith meal. No meat, no bread, no problem. Maybe I will claim this first night of Passover and host it every year as a meat- and bread-free meal. I’m looking forward to having both our families at the same table with less cholesterol and carbs. And if all else fails, at least I know dessert will be good!