image (2)Passover is the Jewish holiday, almost every person who relates to being Jewish, celebrates.  How a person or family celebrates, is truly individualized and personal.

My family has two seder nights.  We have almost the same menu since the time my Bubbe hosted Passover.  I actually spent years trying to recreate her recipes since she did not write English (though spoke and read 7 languages) and they died with her.  When my nieces and nephews were young, they wanted to know if this was a Jewish food holiday.  If so, they knew they were getting to eat some foods that were only cooked once a year, or maybe twice, Rosh Hashana we have some repeats.

Every year I invite guests, Jewish and non Jewish.  My young Jewish guests are told that every family has their own traditions so it may not be what they are use to.  My non Jewish guests usually have an unusual reaction to their first Jewish seder.  I say “first Jewish” because I still remember a young lady, the first time she joined my family for Passover.  She is a devout Catholic and had gone to seders at her church every year.  Ann thought she knew what a seder is.  Then she came to my house – I can still picture her reactions.  All she kept saying all night, is this is nothing like the seder at church.  Welcome to a real Jewish seder.  (This young lady is now a mother of 5 and an Infectious Disease physician at Brigham’s Women Hospital in Boston)

Since Seder means order, here is the order of my Seder.  Our traditions are:

  • Dress casually – sweats are fine
  • Do a full seder, or our version of
  • Begin by passing a rubber matzoh ball from generation to generation – L’dor v’ dor
  • Prayers are ok to be in English
  • Dip a potato, not parsley
  • Children run outside and yell for anyone who needs a seder or need a meal to come join us (we have had neighbors join after hearing the kids)
  • Every child says the four questions, their choice of English or Hebrew
  • Children work together to steal the afikomen from the seder leader (me) and collectively negotiate to return – it is team work
  • Menu remains the same though I have been over two decades introduced a lamb tagine and Moroccan chicken. This has replaced the stuffed breast of veal (which we continue to have at Rosh Hashana)
  • Limited singing. No one in my family can carry a tune

I have non Jewish friends whom have been coming for several years.  They have already reserved their places for next year with a +1.

I hope everyone enjoys a sweet Pesach

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Fern Heinig

Fern Heinig

A long time member of Shomrei, Fern is a past President of the Synagogue. She is one of Shomrei's MESH Cafe (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless) chefs. Fern founded Minerva Consulting. She consults to the healthcare industry on commercializing brands and developing the next generation of marketers.
Fern Heinig

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