Sunday, March 05, 2006

Pesach is Coming. Send Help.

In a month and ten days, more or less, it's going to be Pesach. As God is my witness, I don't have the slightest idea what I should do.

At least she's panicking fairly early, you say. Great, I'm panicking early. I am, however, sort of panicking. We have a few different problems here. Let me address them in order:

1. The seder.

Ideally, I (or at least the Woman I Would Like To Be) would like to make the seder. I would lay a beautiful table full of color, zest, and glorious food. I would make my own haggadot (my parents did it, why not me?). I would invite all my friends and family. I would lead an engaging, traditional, egalitarian, fun, solemn seder, during which we would remember Jews in Iran, the people of Darfur, troops in Iraq, people with AIDS and the homeless and hungry of the world. The food would be a delicious blend of traditional Ashkenazi favorites, better-tasting but still kitniyot-free Sephardi recipes, and a little California cuisine for the healthy touch. There would be so much food that the table would have to be held up by an act of Congress. We would sing. The matzo balls would circle the table lazily, like something out of Harry Potter, diving into soup whenever anyone seemed low on matzo ball.

Unfortunately, my dining room table seats four. My house is tiny. I don't really have a lot of Jewish friends who can be coaxed over, and NO, I don't feel like doing a demo seder which will mostly be non-Jewish friends humoring me. My fella has never been to a seder, and has what I consider to be a morbid fear of unfamiliar religious observances. (Basically, all religious observances, in other words.) Most of my relatives live in Southern California, or back East, and we are not in close contact with them.

The smart thing to do might be to go back to Netivot Shalom and get some Jewish friends, but you know, probably not in the next five weeks.

The last several years, my parents and I have gone to assorted community seders, and we may do that again this year, but honestly, I am getting sort of sick of them, and we have, from time to time, ended up at tables where the conversation has been intensely unpleasant.

I have wonderful memories of going to my great-uncle's for the seder, and of seders my parents gave, or their friends did. I don't seem to have an adult replacement for myself quite worked out yet.

2. My kitchen

If anyone has easy tips for kashering for Pesach when you've got no Pesach dishes, a tiny kitchen, no time, no energy, and the microwave needs to be set aside for the fella so he can eat something chametzdik and not die over the holiday, let me know.

Normally, I do a lot of tinfoil and paper plates. Last couple of years I've basically eaten Pesach food off chametz dishes, and no one died, but it's not very spiritually satisfying.

My ultimate fantasy is someday to have a house with two kitchens. Not milchig and fleischig, but Me and Him. Honestly. A full kitchen with a granite island, and tons of shelf space, and four sets of dishes, plus nice ones for Shabbos, and then a comfortable kitchenette with a stove and microwave and a fridge, and all the happy nibbles and bacon and whatever that the fella could want. He wants ham and eggs, I can make him some right there. He wants a bacon cheeseburger in the middle of the night, he can knock himself out. When I switch dishes for Pesach, it won't affect him.

Thing is, I grew up in a home where we didn't keep kosher, but my mom was very thorough about Pesach. We changed dishes. We boiled and scrubbed. That feels like the norm to me. But I'm not there. I wish I was there.

3. Guilt

See above. See also, Story of My Life, What Else is New, and I'm Jewish, What Did You Expect.

I AM going to bake hamentaschen this year. That's all I can commit to right now.


Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

I have to add here that it sounds as though I'm being slapdash with Pesach because of the fella. Let me be entirely honest--if he were not here, I still would probably not be changing the dishes, although I would far more likely be lasting out the whole holiday on matzah and avocado, eaten straight out of the box and peel, respectively.

Anonymous said...

1) Sell the kitchen to the fella. Save a lot of trouble...just kasher one burner on the stove & one cabinet. Lay down a towel on the counter or the table when you need to use them.

2) You live in El Cerrito. Go to Bed, Bath & Beyond at El Cerrito Plaza, and buy a set of glass dishes--they sell them for $1 per plate and $1 per bowl. Get your self a Passover pot, cutting board, a couple of knives, and a sponge. Unless you're hosting a seder, that's all you really need to eat for a week...

3) I'd invite you to our seder, but it's looking more and more like we'll be out of town this year...but really, COME BACK TO NETIVOT SHALOM!!! We want to meet you!!!

Moishe Q. Public said...

Fly to New England. I would be honored to have you at my seder table.

Eliyahu said...

it's so wonderful you're remembering to leave mitzrayim! you are really honoring the tradition that it should be that we are personally leaving....imagine how tough it was in egypt without the aluminum foil! what about your living room for the seder? are you going out for the second seder? you are both welcome at whatever tables i'm at for one or both seders. they're quite likely a little closer than new england, but you wouldn't want to drive. alternatively, i will put you in touch with a jewish educator near you. again, it's awesome that you are sharing your leaving with us.

Moochy said...

Nice blog.
I am still at Purim... Pressure...

WBS said...

To relieve some of your Pre Pesach stress:

Ruby Skye and Chabad of SF presents

Monday, March 13 - 6:30pm

A Benefit Concert to Help Rebuild Chabad House of SF & a 60th Birthday Bash for Rabbi Yosef Langer

March 13, 2006-6:30pm B"H
(13 Adar 5766)

with Matisyahu
Perry Farrell

Peter Himmelman

Moshav Band
DJ Alex Graham
Peter Himmelman
Queen Esther
& More!

Free Nosh for General Admission.
VIP Feast in the Balcony.
Doors Open at 6:30pm
Megillah reading at 7pm

For information contact Chabad of SF at (415) 668-6178 or visit

I don't know if there's any tickets left and I don't know if I'm going but it should be a fun time.