April 11th, 2006


Passover Plans

As I mentioned a few days ago, this week the Jewish holiday of Passover begins. And since no one has asked, I thought I'd tell everyone about our plans for the holiday.

Most people who have some familiarity with the holiday know that for the first two nights, we observe a Passover seder. The word "seder" literally means "order," and the seder itself is essentially a ritual meal during which we retell the Biblical story of the exodus from Egypt. During the holiday, we're not supposed to eat any food considered "chametz," meaning for the most part that yeast is forbidden. But it also means cleaning one's home and signing away ownership of any food or dishes considered chametz. We cover the counters, change the tablecloths, etc. "Kosher for Passover" is much more complicated than simply "kosher."

When I was growing up, my family always went to my paternal grandmother's apartment for the seders. In the past few years, Nomi and I have done seder with her parents, wherever they are. This year, her parents are joining the extended Feld family at a resort in Maine, and so are we. From the blogosphere, Nomi's sister and brother-in-law (beckyfeld and osewalrus) will be there, as well as estherchaya and sethcohen.

I've never done the "go to a resort thing" for Passover before, but I can certainly understand the appeal. You don't have to worry about the cooking or cleaning yourself, as everything is taken care of for you. And even though you had to clean your home for Pesach, you don't have to have your own extra set of dishes specifically for the holiday. A few years ago, a long-time friend of mine and her family were staying in a hotel in Cambridge for the holiday, and they invited us to join them for lunch on one of the chol ha'moed days. What I mostly recall from that lunch was that the moment you finished eating something, the staff brought something else out for you to eat. And when lunch was over, they brought out trays of desserts and snacks. The impression I got was that for all eight days, no matter what time of day or night, there would always be food available. (From what I've been told, the atmosphere is similar to that found on cruise ships.)

It would be convenient if Nomi and I could stay at the resort for all eight days, with the rest of the family, but we can't. We've both got work to do over chol ha'moed. So we'll leave after the first few days of the holiday and observe the rest of Passover at home. As for the last two yom tov days, we have invitations out for dinner Tuesday night and lunch Thursday, and if anyone were to invite us for the Wednesday meals, we'd be unlikely to turn them down.

And then Thursday night things get a little nuts. The instant the holiday ends, we're jumping on a train to Richmond, Virginia, in order to attend Ravencon and then spend a day with my younger brother and his family, so we can finally meet my new nephew Noah. The problem is that we can't just start eating regular kosher food again, as there's a requirement to wait a few hours after the holiday ends before retaking ownership of chametz. So we'll be taking some prepackaged food with us for the train ride, and then relying on the kindness of madwriter, who has graciously agreed to go shopping for us in Richmond on Friday so we'll have regular kosher food again in time for shabbat.

And then, once we get home again, we'll have to change the place over from Passover to regular. Oy!

But it'll all be worth it in the end.