By now I’m sure you’ve heard that I’m part Jewish.
For those who are unfamiliar with Passover, let me give you a brief synopsis:
Long story short… The Jews, AKA Children of Israel, AKA Hebrews, AKA God’s chosen people…. had been kept as slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years. God spoke to this guy called Moses through a burning bush (as the supreme being, creator, and ruler of the universe does). God told Moses to go talk to the Pharaoh and see what was up with all of the slavery. Moses was like, “Let my people go!” but Pharaoh was like, “Whatever!” So God got pretty upset, and sent plagues over the land of Egypt. Plagues like lice, frogs, boils, locusts, and hail. Nasty stuff… Terrible! Eventually Moses was just like, “Why don’t we just try leaving Egypt when it’s dark?” So they all snuck out of Egypt when it was dark. (I’m sure after hundreds of years of slavery they were kicking themselves wondering why they hadn’t thought of the whole “escape in the darkness thing” sooner. I digress.) After a brief interlude at the Red Sea, Moses led the Jews to the promised land.
Passover is a holiday where we (the “Jews”) celebrate our liberation from Egypt. Jews typically observe Passover for eight days, and they have a Passover seder (or two) where family and friends gather together for a special dinner, where the story of the exodus is told using a Haggadah. A Haggadah outlines the order of the seder with offerings, blessings, songs of praise, etc.
For me, the best part about the Passover wasn’t really the Passover per se, it was the festivity around the celebration. My friend (the mensch) and her family (also, very menschy) like their celebrations to have a little flair.
For instance, we used a Baseball Haggadah, and sang an exodus song to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
There was a matzo basket made of fabric that looked like matzos!
There was a lasagna that was made with matzos!
There was a Moses action figure!
We got to ask four questions!
There was a tambourine – that anyone could play!
We got to hit the table!
There was kosher wine (which tastes pretty much exactly like regular wine)!
We got to make sandwiches! With matzos!
We got to hit each other with green onions!
And as if all of that wasn’t amazing enough, the crowd that was gathered around the table was diverse and fascinating. My friend’s family (all mensches) had assembled a whizz-bang, multi-national, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-talented group of people. A real hodge-podge of humanity**, if you will…. I mean, there was even a Republican from Florida!
On what other occasion would I meet such people***?
And THAT my friend, was the best part about the Passover celebration. The coming together of many, to celebrate, to remember, and to reflect…
I take that back… It was definitely the matzo lasagna.
* > 5%.
** “Hodge-podge of humanity” is now trademarked by yours truly.
*** Possibly a Kimpton Hotel wine hour?