Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pesach - Part 1

Passover is nearly here and I can hardly wait. It is one of my very favorite holidays. When I tell people I am cooking, or going out of town for Passover, I inevitably get the response, “I didn’t know you were Jewish!” Then I have to explain the strange state of my Jewishness which is confusing to people who are not me.

It goes like this. My father grew up Jewish although he no longer practices and in fact has followed a different faith since before I was born. So am I Jewish? I always explain it this way:

According to Hitler? Probably
According to the Jewish faith? No (It must come down on your Mother’s side)

According to me? Well, religiously- definitely not. I’m one of those agnostic cop-outs you hear so much about these days. Culturally? Somewhat. For sure more than I identify with my German, Mennonite, Christian roots. (Especially when I go to that side of the family’s reunions- I feel very dark, very city, very “Jewish”) Although that may be more due to the fact that I saw my Jewish relatives much more often when I was growing up. It may also be because of the yearly celebration of Passover. Which is a very rah rah the Jews are effing awesome sort of holiday, which makes you want to think of yourself as one of them.

For those of you whom have never had the pleasure of attending a Passover Seder, there are a number of things about it that make it so much fun to celebrate. For one, there is a lot of wine involved. Four glasses to be exact. And I think most of them are supposed to be drunk before you even start dinner. (Technically it should be kosher and there have been great strides in those wines in recent years) Secondly, it is all about food and you eat a number of symbolic foods during the Seder. Thirdly, everyone participates in the ceremony, even the children. You go around the table taking turns reading the story of how the Jews escaped from Egypt. Small children have the special task of asking the 4 questions and also get to hunt for the afikommen which is a game built into the event- with a prize!

I have so much more to say about it but this post is getting rather lengthy so I think I’ll break it up. Stay tuned for the next installment- The Food!


Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

Interesting info on the seder Stef. Isn't it interesting how we all have a need to label people and things? I was just talking about this with someone. If we didn't categorize things and people and pre-judge them, our brains would explode from information overload. Just walking down the street would be too much info.

Anyway, as a Christian, I'm interested in the follow up posts!!

Dad said...

I never thought of the Seder as "Jewish rah-rah" event but I have always loved the story of the escape from Egypt - the enslavements of man - and the family Thanksgiving aspects.

Lakeview Coffee Joe said...

BTW, I thought you guys were kicked out of Egypt for not paying rent more so than "escaping". Unless of course you say you "escaped" from your restaurant check while the waiter wasn't looking. I love religious humor. It can be so offensive.

alexis said...

I say, Passover is such an awesome holiday, ANYONE who even smells jewish should be allowed to celebrate. That is why religions have fun holidays - increase the traffic.