My wonderful friend, Mickie, many years ago began having an eclectic Passover celebration, for which she herself handwrote and illustrated the Haggadah. When she moved out of town, I adopted the event, usually attended by up to 30 folk with all manner of beliefs and food ideas. The last few years, it’s been son Brian, grandson Patrick and I.
This year, with our schedules and energy levels not in sync with the first or second night of Passover, we ended up having our seder on the fifth night, with five of us at the table. I used ideas from my friend Zell’s Passover cookbook, Passover Seders Made Simple, though as it turned out, Brian did all of the cooking. I got out the good silver and the china and the wineglasses, plus the hand-embroidered (by me) tablecloth and napkins, and set the table. Then I gathered all the ritual material for the seder plate, plus all the different foods we eat to learn the lessons of Passover.
We used three different Haggadahs, since we didn’t have enough copies left of Mickie’s – most of them have long since died of over-exposure to food and wine stains through the years. We used The Seder, by Congregationo Beth Adam, subtitled Judaism with a Humanistic Perspective. And a Haggadah, written back to front as Hebrew writing is, A Children’s Haggadah, published in 1993 by Nostradamus Advertising. In seder, everyone takes turns with the many readings throughout the celebration, 4 cups of wine (grape juice in our case) and ritual meal.
The additional guests included a young non-observant Jew and her boyfriend. So of course we asked her to light the candles, though she had not attended Passover for many years. Two and a half hours later, we were completely finished, including the finding of the afikoman by her boyfriend, the youngest at the table. Elijah have been welcomed in, to empty his cup. And we were so sated we could not move. A hallmark of a great seder.
Next year in Jerusalem – or if not, again at my house in the trees.