Learning to Like Passover, 2020

I’ve never really liked Passover. Easily bottom three Jewish holidays for me. Somewhere between the fish balls and hiding the cracker, they lost me.

It’s pretty challenging, as a member of the tribe, to hate Passover. It’s one of those holidays that feels like the SAT essay portion — everyone gets the same prompt, but each bluebook is filled with a different style of bullshit. That makes it extremely difficult to justify your hatred for the holiday to someone who takes familial vodka shots at their Seder. It really depends on how the holiday goes down at your house.

If you’re not familiar, here are the basics:

With advanced modifications, Passover begins three days earlier, with your mother yelling she “doesn’t need any help” before she guilts you into cleaning out the pantry or running a Clorox wipe on those little ledges at the bottom of the walls in your house. They’re just filthy, look at them! Some families will partake in several Seders, as to make appearances at all the hottest tables in town, or to host two sets of in-laws that just don’t get along.

My family, being from Israel, comes with a collection of other traditions and rituals that some of my American friends just can’t relate to. We don’t go to work or school during the observed days of Passover. We whip out a bin of Kosher pots and pans to cook for the Seder. We eat off of a set of glass dinner plates that make me nervous. We also bag all of the food that isn’t Kosher for Passover and shove it into a cabinet which we then seal with a line of masking tape.

“Where’s the Nutella?”

“In the time out cabinet”

I think that after doing this for a few years, I mostly just felt over it. It’s not a fun and friendly holiday like Hannukah. It’s not a bummer holiday like Yom Kippur. It’s this weird in-between where no one’s really happy, but we pretend to be because we’re celebrating this extremely symbolic, pivotal moment in our collective memory. It’s a holiday I began to dread every year: something I just had to get through so I could party after. An excuse to eat a lot of pasta later on because I don’t eat pasta for a full week.

But this year is different. This year, getting ready for Passover was easier because we were all home. Shopping for Passover was hard because we couldn’t make the rounds to every grocery store. The Seder was casual because we couldn’t have any guests.

Celebrating Passover in this new context has been unique and interesting. It’s been something normal amidst a whole lot of chaos. A set of motions that we go through every year, without exception for a virus, that has brought me a small comfort in a time of overwhelming dread. Passover really isn’t so bad in a pandemic.

So, with the Seder 3 just days behind us, I wanted to note the things I’ve found unique and comforting in this year’s holiday. Dare I say, some things I actually love about Passover.

The Burning Buns

Bread ablaze

Zoom Zoom Zoom

Will it Bake?

Kosher Movie Night

Anything Goes

Shared hope

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store