Friday, April 17, 2009


This was a terrific Pesach!

I usually like Pesach anyway. Since I'm a vegetarian and I don't like processed foods, it's usually a cleansing time. A salad and vegetables and fish time. I've usually got much more energy and am happier, as a result.

But this Pesach was even better than usual, even though I turned my kitchen fleischig in honor of my baby carnivore. Breaking out in horrible hives as an allergic reaction to detergents and spring--certainly not an auspicious beginning. But my lovely love took over the bulk of the cleaning and prep. The near-freezing temperatures and rain weren't so fun, but it meant I got to stay home and read books with my girl (among them our rabbi's manuscript, the blank back pages of which my girl "decorated for the rabbi.")

I know it's not good to let your child draw during chag. But it bought me some precious quiet (and after last week with ear infections and screaming, I needed it). It was gefilte fish for the brain. For instance, did you know that the Shema originally contained the ten commandments? That, in some circles, the first Pope, Simon Peter, is attributed with writing the Nishmat col hai? I didn't.

The reading/drawing technique also allowed me to cuddle and converse with my daughter for at least two hours each day.

As for the second days: At first I thought it was a disaster that the Dean of our college at the university where I teach invited an Irish poet to my graduate class--during second days of Pesach. But I invited the students and the poet over for dinner. It was amazing. The poet, a single mother of a nine-year-old, had never had an encounter with Judaism. I'm pretty sure she's drafting a poem about gefilte fish as I write, and she flies back to Ireland. Imagine serving people who are excited about matzah ball soup. The two Jewish students in class were happy. The conversation was charged, since the poet writes quite a bit about the encounter between Christianity and Paganism in her native West Kerry.

My love rolled with it all pretty well. Since he's accustomed to having the entire time of Pesach off in Israel, I know it was stressful for him to have to accommodate my work schedule and the unusual touches I added to a normal celebration. But it worked pretty well. And that's good enough for me.

1 comment:

lsw said...

Sounds glorious! I have fond memories of making latkes at my Irish studies department's christmas party. They all thanked me for making the boxty. I also impressed poet Nuala NĂ­ Dhomhnaill with my ability to pronounce her name. After coughing up Hebrew consonants, Irish was a breeze! I love when disparate cultures collide so beautifully. Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience!