Passover Stories 2016

passoverBy Sherri W. Morr

These are not the usual Passover stories. That is they are not about Pharaoh, serpents or even frogs or locusts. Not even about Moses and Miriam, let alone God himself.

They are the neighborhood stories. The ones that go something like this…

My kitchen is already kosher for Pesach; can I come over to your house to make this last sponge cake with the 8 to 10 eggs. Won’t take long.

After spending $100 in the Jewish bookstore I mentioned I was going next door to the butcher. I hope you have at least another couple of hundreds with you, he said.

OMG, our Seder lasted til almost 2AM and the commentaries just did not stop. I could have sworn we had agreed ‘no Rashi this year.’

A 5 year old boy who by now is probably a top litigator in the Hollywood entertainment industry accuses his Dad of … “Daddy you said doodee,” as the father reads the portion where Moses talks to his people about their duty to obey Gods commandments. Then the child falls off his chair to the floor giggling.

Is there a virtual Seder I can sign up for? Is it expensive? I hope they will be having brisket. I wonder if I will know anyone there.

Every year my relatives send us a big basket of Mrs. Beasley cakes and muffins erev Passover. When will they get it I cannot serve those things to our modern orthodox friends? They are modern but not that modern.

The car wash establishments in the neighborhood have big signs out advertising … Passover Car Wash Specials.

For those who become afflicted with a yeast infection during Passover … rest assured it is NOT because you are sneaking sourdough bread in the pantry at midnight.

Our kids refuse to take matzah sandwiches for school lunches. Too kosher they say. When kosher for Passover rolls are offered they say, “Are you crazy, they’ll think we do not keep Passover.”

Our Seder is potluck. But we tell our friends, only bring genuine looking Passover deserts. Please we say, no fancy $35 apricot tarts with parve custard filling. It’s just not authentic Passover.

JDate has a lottery this year for their Seder … if you are getting married to someone you met on JDate, or someone your friend met on JDate and you were a bridesmaid then you get a voucher for extra schmoora matza when turning in your chometz. If you were the flower girl then you get a double order of egg kichel.

This year one of the kosher butcher has offered a lamb shank bone for each child in the entire day school class that draws the most beautiful Seder plate. Second prize will be horseradish that has already been grated.

The BBYO chapter of Pacoima has offered to clean and kasher your oven and stovetop without blowtorches.

Bring a stranger to your Seder table … do it now before the community runs out of strangers. Be certain you teach your children to distinguish between the regular stranger and the stranger who attends Passover.

If you are in the process of still changing your dishes and running out of room, you are also quite possibly running out of time. Gelson’s has stunning paper plates.

Are we free yet? The most often asked Passover question after why is this night different from all other nights. The operative word here is ‘we.’ No we are not all free yet and the most important aspect of the Passover Seder and its order is that we acknowledge no we are all not free. Perhaps modernity has resulted in the very fact that the cause of freedom and free will has allowed even less of us to be free than ever before. So regardless of the chometz and how long it takes to rid yourself, your house, and your car of those pesky crumbs, or how many commentaries were quoted, and how long we sat there waiting to search for the afikomen, or the wise son asking dumb questions its incumbent on us all to talk about what being free really means. Close your eyes, inhale, and really feel the loss of basic human rights that you take for granted. Then open your eyes, look around, and hug those who surround your Passover table.

Sherri W. Morr has spent the last several decades working & consulting in and out of the Jewish community. Currently she is the Director for the West Coast Region of American Society of University of Haifa. Sherri has published fundraising articles in technical journals, and had a blog on the Bay Citizen in San Francisco; she has numerous essays in her computer, and is working on several writing projects including: “Captain Kirk Visits the Holy Land” and a memoir called “Canned Fruit, and other Stories of Jewish Identity.”