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Passover

Why I ‘Force’ My Kids to Keep Passover

matzah

Some may call it wrong; I call it practicing our religion. I force my children to “keep” Passover…gasp! Ever since my children have been eating table food, they have been required to observe the rules of Passover. It can be hard at times, and there may even be times they feel left out (for example, birthday parties where cake and pizza are served), but I feel pretty confident that they will survive these eight days observing Passover.

Over the years, I have found people who acted like I was in fact reenacting the slavery the Jewish people went through by inflicting the Passover diet plan on my family. What could possibly be worse than my children not able to eat their normal heavy dose of processed cheese crackers? Oh jeez, they’ll have to have some cheese sticks, fruits, or vegetables as snacks. Let’s call it a forced diet adjustment by all.

I’m not the most religious person. We don’t strictly observe Shabbat, we mix milk and meat, and we generally only attend synagogue on the High Holidays. But my family always observed Passover growing up. It has become an important value to me. We are so blessed. I feel that it’s important for our family to pause and take a moment (or eight days in this case) to show God how much we appreciate our life.

I’m not sure my kids are at the point where they are happy about observing Passover. They see it as a responsibility they have to do. But I’m OK with that. I feel good about passing on my convictions to my children whether they like it or not.

During these eight days, it’s supposed to be uncomfortable; nobody said it would be easy. Since it isn’t always easy, the message is even louder. Our people have suffered too many times to count. And no, I’m not talking about the “long wait at a restaurant with starving children” kind of suffering. Our ancestors have been through so much pain and agony so that we are able to have these lives—lives free from slavery and free to openly practice our religion. Don’t we owe it to the generations before us to carry out the traditions that they died trying to protect?

Besides, Passover has become a time when we have an all access pass to matzah pizza and fried matzah—it could be worse! Yes, at times we all get frustrated with our inability to eat the things we do in our normal lives, but we commiserate together as a family. By commiserate, I mean stuff our faces with matzah pizza.

Nowadays, more so than ever, parents try to make life easy for our kids. Cell phones, video games, iPads, oh my! We rarely ask or challenge our children to step up to the plate and stretch outside their comfort zone. There are some things that are worth struggling for. In my opinion, the observance of Passover is one of them.

The Passover seder is an adventure, not a chore — and Kveller’s new, family-friendly haggadah captures all the excitement, plus explains everything you need to know. Best of all? It’s free! Get it here.

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