As a little girl I celebrated Passover with my grandparents every year. It was a festive time. My grandparents house was always full of family and friends. When my grandfather passed way in 2004, our Seder dinners slowly became a thing of the past. I tried to gather our family together, but it has proven to be a huge challenge as we have grown up and moved away. I miss the dinner and the family time together.
This year I had it set in my mind that I wanted to celebrate the Passover meal with my family in the context of Holy Thursday and the Last Supper. Holy Week is always busy and with our fourth son’s 1st birthday on Saturday, we had lots of distractions. My husband thought I was crazy for trying to fit one more thing into our schedule, but I was determined!!
I knew we wouldn’t have time to do an entire Passover Seder, but my goal was to hit the highlights. I bought some lamb steaks. I looked up recipes to make haroset, and then improvised with what I had in the house. In my hast planning I forgot to buy matzah and bitter herbs. Thankfully my husband stopped and picked up marzah and I settled on a mixed green salad for bitter herbs.
This was the end result:
While I was cooking the meal, I envisioned my family quietly sitting down listening to every word I say about the importance and symbolic gesture of the meal. My almost 3 year old couldn’t listen until his “wine” was poured. My daughter looked at the haroset and started to make doubtful comments about eating that “gross” stuff.
It wasn’t going as I planned at all!! I wanted to start yelling but I took a deep breath and started to explain. Then to my surprise, my 11 1/2 year old took over the story telling. The younger ones listened better to him then me!! It was beautiful to watch.
After we ate we hurried off to mass for Holy Thursday. My husband thanked me for the special dinner. I felt connected to my Jewish roots while honoring who I am today. Maybe next year I will get out my Grandfather’s Passover prayer books and make it more authentic. Maybe next year we will extend an invitation to family and friends. I am just glad I resurrected an important family tradition full of wonderful memories.