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Mar 29

Passover Prep

Passover is just a few weeks away, and we’re starting to get ready. We celebrate both Passover and Easter in our family, although Easter is celebrated as a secular holiday, and more of a nice compliment to the Passover celebration. While the December Dilemma Debacle is something we struggle with every winter, the Spring version of it is considerably less tense. Passover is SUCH a huge holiday for us, and Easter has gradually become something that we celebrate mainly at my mother’s house.

(although the Easter Egg hunt at my mother’s is always a highlight)

The week before Passover is jam packed with activities. Monday is the day that my seven year old and the rest of his first grade class will be performing in the annual play. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we’ll have Seders, the kids have school on Thursday (we’ll pull them out for the holiday celebrations) and then Friday is another day off, and the start of April vacation. Saturday we’ll have one final seder, and then Sunday is Easter.

I’m already a little tired.

The first two nights are family Seders. The word Seder means order, and we go through the hagdahah (which is the Passover Seder service) and eat. A lot. The third Seder is actually not a Jewish one. Every year, my husband leads the Seder for an Episcopalian church in Worcester. Their former pastor was our neighbor, and we’ve been doing it for the past few years. It’s one of my favorite parts of the holiday.

Passover is the holiday where Jewish people eat matzoh. Lots and lots of matzoh (matzoh is a flat, crunchy bread that looks like a giant saltine cracker. With no salt). My husband (and usually at least a couple of my kids) like to keep strict kosher for Passover, which is to say that they forego all products including wheat and/or leavening. This includes cheerios, which is a pretty major staple in this house. But there are some foods that I only make during these eight days, like matzoh brie (which is scrambled eggs with matzoh in it, and while it sounds odd, it’s unbelievably good), and matzoh pizza, chocolate covered matzoh and we eat a whole lot of fruits and veggies.

Another huge part of the preparation for Passover is the cleaning – oh, the cleaning. It’s actually a great opportunity to get everyone involved in spring cleaning. This year, I’m thinking a lot about springtime and starting fresh. Cleaning out the old and making room for the new. Not just clothes that we’ve outgrown and toys we don’t play with anymore – but really thinking about what we want to keep, material possessions and habits we want to let go of.

And mostly – Passover is a celebration. Of freedom, not just of the Jews escaping slavery in Egypt, but also of freedom from the shackles of winter coats, bulky boots, and the frantic search for mittens every morning. Passover is confirmation that spring is here again, and I couldn’t be happier.

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