Here comes a big holiday weekend! We’re getting ready for Passover, which starts tomorrow evening.
In advance of this, we’ve been reading our collection of Passover books and talking about the holiday with Max. By the way, some of these are from the PJ Library, and completely free!
At Max’s preschool, holidays are mentioned and discussed in secular, cultural (non materialistic) terms. So far this year, parents of his classmates have come in to his class to celebrate several major holidays including Chanukah and Christmas. And more recently, Chinese New Year (where the kids made a big dragon and had a parade). Another parent came in earlier this week to help them dye eggs for Easter. Today, another mom is there making matzoh ball soup for Passover.
I love that every child gets to feel that their culture has a place in their classroom. I love that the parents are so involved — bringing these wonderful activities to the class. To me, this means that all the kids are learning even more about each other and to respect each other’s cultures through food, play, games, and songs. I believe this kind of environment and teaching style is crucial to help them grow up to be truly accepting of others and interested in all the ways we are different and the same. I don’t believe children are born hating. I believe children are taught to fear or hate others. I think that any opportunity to teach empathy, acceptance, and information about different cultures is always positive. I believe the sooner (and more frequently) we teach our kids these lessons, the better.
When my family lived in Israel, we always spent Passover with my grandparents in Kiryat Tivon. My grandmother kept an immaculate and kosher home. She spent weeks cleaning before Passover. This is a picture of their house from a long time ago.
So, here in our house, I’m not as great a housekeeper as my grandmother was. Dust and crumbs are like the 11th plague. I’m not sure I’ll manage to clear out every bit of dust or crumbs before tomorrow. Yeah, it’s probably not gonna happen. However, the kitchen and dishes will be sparkling clean!
We finally found our box of Passover dishes, serving bowls, silverware–the works. Andy’s mom had quite a collection. The table linens are both from Andy’s side and my side of the family. We also have Kiddush cups from both our families, as well as new things (like our Seder plate) that we received as wedding gifts. It’s wonderful to bring the old and new together. We’re looking forward to our Seder with family and friends.
I’m hoping Max will help me set the table. One of his favorite things is The Dancing MatzahMan.
Freshly installed AA batteries have the MatzahMan singing and dancing at the touch of a button. Yes, its super annoying after a few rounds and we have to make it stop. But Max will be leading us in a MatzahMan dance as one of his “jobs” for the Seder and I know it will make us all laugh.
We also got this Box of Plagues:
Nothing like acting out the Ten Plagues to make things extra fun and entertaining for
a 5-year-old us silly grownups.
I’m reminded of a trip to Israel for my friend’s wedding in June 1999. After the wedding, a group of us (including the bride and groom and their families) went to the Sinai for a week. I’m pretty certain we stayed in Nuweiba. Here are some shots of The Red Sea.
I wrote about Spring Celebrations for Sesame Workshop when Max was two. My, how time flies!
I feel that Passover is a good time to reflect on the past, and take a lesson we can use in our present day. Sadly, there are so many current horrors going on all over the world, including here in the US, which is disturbing, heartbreaking and requires attention. All one needs to do is put on the news for five minutes. Slavery still exists. Women are in danger. Genocide happens. The list goes on. Turning off the TV and shutting it out is fine, even necessary. Because there is also so much goodness, kindness, and love in the world. Sometimes it’s too easy to forget that, because often the news focuses on how awful things are. Being informed and taking action whenever I can is important to me. Taking a break from it is also important. Holidays offer a moment to step away from the loud noise of our 24/7 media culture.
Passover is a great time to ask myself, what more can I do to make things better? Wherever I am. With whatever I have. It’s also a good time to ask myself, how can I rest and NOT DO? Ah, life’s contradictions. There is time for doing and time for resting.
This might be naive and unrealistic, but I still hope that in the coming year, all those who are persecuted, enslaved, or who are not equal, will find liberation, freedom, justice, and equality in every corner of the world. I also wish that more people (primarily big corporations, governments, etc.) will finally come to recognize how fragile our planet is and act accordingly; how we need to take care of our environment and all the creatures, big and small who we share it with.
I found this picture on the Unreal Americans page on Facebook and think it sums it up:
To me, Passover is about the good guys winning. It’s about becoming free in any way one needs to be free. It’s about imagining myself in someone else’s shoes. It’s about sharing, time with family, and renewing my belief in the power of people to change their circumstances and make their lives and world a better place. Also, it’s about fluffy matzoh ball soup. And chocolate — any way I can get it.
Wishing you a Happy Passover & Happy Easter.
Love & peace,