Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Absolute Favorite Holiday - Pesach

As Pesach approached we began getting ready in several ways. I began working on a Haggadah at Haggadot.com, we had our annual discussion about whether to really get rid of the hametz in the house, we awaited Dennis and Marie's arrival and eventually did a MAJOR cleaning. It was this MAJOR cleaning that answered that question of getting rid of our hametz with a resounding YES. So we packed it up and sent it to Olafia's house, in exchange for her mixers! This MAJOR cleaning had the unintended effect of getting Zelia very much into the Pesach spirit. Every once in a while we would sing a Pesach song to get her familiar with it and in general she became incredibly aware of the holiday, of what we can and cannot eat, etc. She asked me several times about baby Moshe as I had told her the story during the week.

Dennis and Marie arrived on Sunday evening in time for dinner and bed. The next morning Zelia went to leikskoli and we continued to get ready. In the afternoon, her closest friend Bella had a birthday party and I was glad to not have to deal with the issue of hametz there. While we were gone the table was set for Pesach and we were ready. Sadly the Haggadot I had worked on were just not quite right. It's an amazing site but still in its infancy, the layout wasn't good and there were a few pieces missing. So we resorted to the two rather "flimsy" Haggadot we had in the house and which I photocopied.

I lead my first seder and it went quite well. Zelia had fun singing (especially echad mi yodeah) and LOVED finding the Afikoman. We had all the usuals, homemade everything of course - chopped liver, gefilet fish, matzah ball soup (vegetarian) lamb, roasted vegetable, maror (grated horseradish with beets), haroset(apple and raisin kind), salad, meringues, little cocoa coconut balls and chocolate pie. For the second night Olafia joined us and we added some commentary from Uri L'Tzedek an Orthodox Social Justice organization. The readings were great and it reminded me that Soloveitchik has commentary for Pesach which I would very much like us to have. It's always especially fun to have someone who isn't familiar with a seder because it makes the conversation and questions around the seder more interesting. Funny, because an all Jewish group should be able to do this, but I think as a group we sometimes don't want to admit what we don't know. Dinner was amazing, Jacob made a delicious roasted chicken with a rice, roasted nut and meat stuffing - wow, I was happy to have that for several days afterward. Dennis made a yummy potato kugel and we finished it with a macaroon tart.

The following day we took them to Grettislaug and it was a spectacular morning, clear and blue skies. Zelia is totally in love with Marie and played with her non-stop for the entire visit, mostly pretend of course! Lazer was wary as always but will grow out of it eventually. He is newly scooching so getting all over the place and Jack could not get enough of either of them.

Not long after they left Herdis and Aude came for two days. The girls just played and played and Aude and I got to talk about dance. I received a grant for a project I am developing and would also like to stage a piece of mine in Reykjavik. Since she has been plugged in for a while she had lots of good advice.

Easter weekend was upon us and so there was no school or work on Monday either (Thursday and Friday were vacation as well). Instead Zelia was invited to another birthday party for a boy named Valdimar who lives 2 houses down. We had several conversations about not being able to Hametz there and so no birthday cake. Luckily the night before we had made our own chocolate cake and we brought some with us. But even better....they make this yummy meringue cake here with whipped cream between the 2 layers and Zelia dug in and enjoyed 2 pieces!

Over the week Zelia often asked what we could eat and whether things had Hametz in them, one day she sang a song Hamtez, Hametz, Avadim avadim...awesome.

So on Tuesday we kept talking and she was quite sensitive about eating something different at school. So we took her in late to not have breakfast and saw that lunch was fish and potatoes, we asked that she not be given the rye bread. This was also her first day staying until 4 and one thing she really likes is the bread a butter snack at 2. I offered to bring her matzah and butter which she loves (well who doesn't) but she said she didn't want to eat something different from Bella. I spoke with the head of the school and asked if I could bring in popovers for everyone and she said yes. She has been amazing from the beginning and always welcomes us to share our traditions. So at 2 I came in with warm popovers for everyone and Zelia was thrilled. We even posed for a picture!

I brought all the hametz back tonight and we ate spaghetti!


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