Sunday, March 28, 2010

Happy Passover

Passover begins Monday, March 29th, at sundown. The Jewish holiday starts with a meal called a sedar. The sedar is a ritual meal that is guided by a book telling the story of the Jew's exodus from Egypt. It reminds us of how we went from being slaves to this wonderful thing called freedom.

To me, the Jewish religion is so much about tradition. I no longer have parents and have no siblings living near me, so the ritual of a sedar becomes my responsibility and my honor to pass on to my children. In simple terms, Passover lasts 8 days and during the holiday we are not allowed to eat leavened products and certain types of wheat and vegetables. This ban on leavening is symbolic of the quickness with which the Jews had to leave. There was no time for the bread to rise. So we eat Matzoh, unleavened bread.

As a child, I remember my mother cleaning the house of all types of bread and non-Passover products. She scoured the kitchen countertops and covered them with oilcloth. Then she placed a set of glass dishes that we only used for Passover on top of the counters. We were no longer allowed to open any of the doors. There was also a separate set of utensils and pots and pans. Then there were the special foods mostly made by Manischewitz that were placed on top of the counters. We were only allowed to eat food that was labeled Kosher for Passover. It was hard as a kid. No bread, no sandwiches for school lunch, none of our regular cereal, no pasta. So there was always some type of little treat that we never had during the rest of the year to make us feel a little less deprived.

Setting up my kitchen for Passover is not as rigorous a process as in my Mother's day. I do not follow all of the rules that she followed 40 years ago. My homage to my Mom are my glass dishes. Each year at the end of Passover, they are washed, wrapped in paper towels and put away in boxes. The day before Passover, I take them out of the box, wash them and lovingly place them on my kitchen counter. I think of my Mom.

I bought a beautiful handmade glass sedar plate that holds all of the symbolic foods for the sedar.

I take out my Matzah cover

that I made from a pattern I designed as OyVey! Quilt Designs.

I now have my own special treat that I make for my family called Caramel Matzoh Crunch.

And I am so happy to have my children and husband around my sedar table as we celebrate our freedom together.

A little treat for them to take home. And if you'd like to send a cute greeting to some of your family or friends that couldn't be with you, send a free e-card. (s0me of them are better than others.)

Happy Passover to all those that celebrate it.


  1. Have a happy seder with your family! Quiltgirl

  2. Wishing you peace and joy during this Passover Season!

  3. (in the words of Tevye the Milkman)Tradition! (Isn't that was Pesach is all about?)
    My mum used to make a particular recipe she called Fudge, but is more like brownies, only ever at Passover. The first year I moved out of home (and across the country) my brother came to visit at Pesach and brought some with him, in case I didn't know how to make it (I did). My son has now adapted the recipe as he doesn't like almonds, so it's squishier, but still nice.
    I use my mother's Pesach dishes set that I inherited and have since added to via eBay, even though they're so old that they're not microwave safe.
    Oh, and the variations on the songs from my family... my favourite is "the stand up sit down song" (short lines sung alternately around the table, but you have to stand up when you're singing your part. AKA "Ki Lo Ya-eh, Ki Lo Na-eh") and my sister's family have made Had Gadyah into a funny-animal sound song that's fun to sing too. There's another song that my brother translated into local place-names "Albany, Albany, Bunbury, Collie, Kalgoorlie"... there are so many more; hope you all enjoy your sedarim and your own particular traditions!


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