Passover with the Malca’s
Celebrating the liberation of the Jewish people from the slavery in Egypt, Passover is one of the most important Jewish holidays. Also known as “festival of freedom” and “festival of spring” Passover is a rich, multisensory, multithemed, multilayered holiday.
Each year on the evening of the 15th day of Nisan (a month in the Hebrew calendar ) we celebrate Passover (which for our calendars, was last Friday, April 3). Passover is celebrated a very specific way an “order” which is why we use the term Passover Seder (seder meaning "order”, “arrangement"). The Seder is one of the most ancient and meaningful traditions for the Jewish people. Families and friends join together to read the Haggadah, the story of the Israelites’ liberation from their bonds of slavery in Egypt. The traditional Seder also includes a few blessings and a big dinner full of with symbolic, traditional Passover dishes.
Being here in the US, so far away from my family in Israel, I feel the responsibility to create a “real” traditional Passover experience for my own kids. And just like all of you, and big family holidays, things happen (most of us got sick), plans change (friends had to cancel). Holidays and life never go quite like we plan (I had to prepare the Seder by myself) but we still had a great time! We read the Haggadah and sang most of the songs.
At the end of the long and busy day, after putting the kids to sleep, and cleaning up the mess, I sat on the couch and had a great feeling of accomplishment. I was so proud of us: We did it! We organized a great traditional, full Seder! We all had a great time and had created some great memories. What an amazingly powerful family moment!
It was a great feeling of belonging. Even though it was just us in a way, it wasn’t “just” us. It was my family in Israel as well as most of the Jewish around the world. We all did exactly the same thing that our family did. Knowing that, automatically made me feel part of something that is bigger than all of us. It was something my husband and I had been trained to do. For me, this is the magical power of tradition.
As I explained Passover is a multilayered celebration and tradition. Before you can properly celebrate a Passover Seder, you must of course…. CLEAN! We begin getting ready for the holiday weeks ahead of time with a serious clean up. We get rid of the chametz (leavened products) for Passover. When the Jewish people left Egypt they did so in a hurry and had no time to wait for the bread they were baking to rise. The bread they baked was flat – Matzah. The Matza is an unleavened bread a commemorative food, traditionally eaten during Passover.
But, the Passover cleaning is usually includes more than just cleaning your house from leavened products. This year I decided that my 2 older kids (6.5Y and 4.5Y) are old enough to participate in the cleaning. We organized their toys and book case, sorted all the unused/old toys. Some were packed and stored away for our little baby (8m old), while others were donated.
Passover is also known as the “Festival of Spring.” As a family project, we decided to prepare our backyard for the spring. Two weeks ago, we cleaned the backyard and planted some new plants to add a splash of a color. The kids had a great time, and are learning/showing responsibility by watering the new plants a few times a week. The backyard looks great!
In this great time of the year, and the Passover spirit, I would like to wish all of you a great Spring! I hope you will find the time to enjoy all the blooming flowers, great weather, and most important of all, your family and friends.