Passover Tales: Sometimes You Forget and Eat Bread
Passover is coming! For us, Passover is about stories, about traditions, about family, about freedom, about wine, about renewal, and about recognizing that we are all strangers in a strange land, seeking meaning, justice, community and fulfilling lives. We asked a couple of friends what Pesach means to them.
Here, we’ll start.
In our home, Passover is bringing together a group that is at least 50% goys. It’s creating new traditions with chosen family and given family, it’s making crazy new brisket recipes, discussing Lean In, ScarJo & Sodastream and hitting people with scallions. It’s also recognizing that “Go Down Moses” is a great cross-cultural song to sing. And above all else, outside of Pesach, my husband, Neil, has started making jokes about empty chairs being set for Elijah (training for being a dorky Jewish dad? Check). Finally, big question for all the Rabbis out there: if I am already gluten-free, what does giving up chametz really mean for me?
I may not be Jewish (well, my husband might argue otherwise) but Passover was always part of my life. I grew up in a suburb outside of Chicago that was primarily Jewish, so I always thought that the high holidays were the mainstream way of life — compared, say, to the weird Korean stuff we did at home. Mostly because my mom loved matzoh and it was always on sale in April, so she would buy tons of it. I would bring PB&J on matzoh to school for lunch so that I could be like all the cool kids. Because all the cool kids were Jewish, of course. [Editor’s Note: Amy and Drake both].”
Joel Steinhaus, Kansan-Jewish
Passover was pretty Jewy the first night (with my Dad’s family) and then pretty goy heavy the second night (with friends). The main difference: better wine the second night.
Katy Ramsey, Recently Converted Jew
Like many people who have converted to Judaism, I tend to be stricter about the ‘rules’ than my fiance, who was raised Jewish. It’s taken me several years to learn all the things I’m not supposed to eat during Passover (corn syrup? soy sauce? who knew?), and despite all my planning and label-reading, I still slip up occasionally. Three years ago, I was in the Fairway in Brooklyn on day 5 of Pesach, restocking my supply of matzoh and trying to figure out something creative to make for dinner, when I suddenly realized that I was standing at the olive oil tasting section with my second piece of oil-dipped bread in my mouth. As they say, it’s one of those mistakes you only make once. Never again will the siren call of free bread samples lure me into breaking Passover! [Editor’s Note: THIS HAPPENS TO EVERYBODY. Even if you grew up Jewish.]
Daniela Gesundheit, Mexican-Jewish-American
Gefilte fish cooked in a Mexican red tomato sauce by my aunts Nati and Rita, by way of my Bobe.