Monday, April 02, 2007

Pesach for the Rest of Us

Tonight is the first night of Passover. But Passover actually lasts all week so why not a week of Passover posts? This week I will be sharing recipes, stories and kicking things off with a book review.

Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jews exodus from Egypt. It has themes that everyone can relate to; slavery, liberation, freedom, redemption, hope, renewal, being a stranger in a strange land. Through story telling, responsive reading, songs, prayers and food the idea is to relive the experience and not just remember it. Making Passover relevant to you is central to the holiday.

I'm fortunate that the Passover seders or dinners that I attend are filled with special touches that make them personal and meaningful. At some seders we tell stories from our own lives, discuss personal issues that we are facing, we add songs that feel right and at one we even add a dance. In this spirit is a wonderful new book by the poet Marge Piercy called Pesach for the Rest of Us Making the Passover Seder Your Own. There are recipes, poems, songs, and stories in the book. I like the fact that while there are many traditional recipes there are also lots of vegetarian variations too. The book is friendly and welcoming and filled with humor and little twists on tradition.

For example I love the suggestions for additional prayers for washing your hands and a prayer over the matzoh:

"Let us bless this moment when we choose to eat matzoh. Our ancestors, in their haste to be free, had no choice. It was matzoh or nothing. For so many people in the world today, they must eat whatever they can, if they have anything to eat at all. Let us bless those who work to end hunger, and bless all those who suffer it."

Amen! Wishing you a very meaningful Passover. Tomorrow stay tuned for recipes!