Pesach 2006
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Most people have at least heard of Passover (Pesach), so we shouldn't have to elaborate. What most people don't know is that Passover is a whole lot of work. First, Jews clean their house from top to bottom to remove any chametz (leavened food) that might have accumulated, you know, in that upstairs clothes closet. Okay, so that is a bit extreme and we certainly didn't have the time, but that is the custom. Then, you sell your chametz to a gentile (we just put ours away). Then, you only eat kosher for passover food (think $$$). Most gentiles have heard of unleavened bread. When Wendy was a kid, she was taught that this was pita bread. Today, gentiles tend to be a little more worldly and realize that unleavened bread is matzah and resembles a large unsalted, hard saltine cracker. What most people don't realize is that kosher for passover doesn't just mean swapping matzah for bread. It means not eating anything that has had grain in contact with water for more than 18 minutes. Passover matzah is made from wheat that is guarded from field to box and goes from flour to matzah in 18 minutes or less. Also forbidden are: corn syrup, legumes, oils derived from legumes or grains, vanilla and other grain alcohol products, all grains except quinoa (don't ask why), and all grain products. Baking powder, however, doesn't count as leavening, so it is okay (except you have to buy kosher for passover baking powder that doesn't contain corn starch). It is amazing how many baked goods can be made by crushing up matzahs into a fine meal and rehydrating them with liquid. Also, ground nuts and potato starch can substitute for flour.
Terri Ginsburg graciously invited us to share her family's seder. Preparing a seder is a complex and time-consuming process that isn't conducive to having an infant on one's hip. We had a great time at Terri's.

Here we are around the table. Terri is just to the right of the window. Next to her are two of her children. Wendy and Isaac are in the very front. Our friend Devon is on Wendy's right. Devon is the community relations person at our synagogue.

 

Isaac helps Mommy read from the Haggadah (the special prayerbook used for the Passover seder).

On the second night of Passover, many families hold a second seder. This is concluded by beginning the count of the days. If you've heard of pentacost, you've heard of counting the days. The Torah tells us to start counting the days after Passover. When we reach 49 (the Greeks rounded this to fifty, thus "pentacost"), we commemorate receiving the Torah with a holiday called Shavuot. We didn't get any good pictures of Shavuot which is why it doesn't appear on our website. Wendy made a calendar to count the days. It is a quilt with seven camels. Each camel is surrounded by 7 buttons. A 6 pointed star is buttoned onto one button per day. She didn't plan ahead very well, so the calendar ended up being almost as tall as our dining room!