Here’s Passover! And Easter! For people who are doing both there is a thankful bit of time between First Seder on Friday night and Easter Sunday. If you are doing both I would love to hear from you HOW you are doing them? Some people will be at a big family Seder on Friday and in church on Sunday morning. But who all will be at each occasion? I read an article written by a Jewish woman who said that Seder is on Good Friday and therefore her Catholic husband can’t eat meat. So she was in a quandary about what to serve. I chuckled to myself because I have three vegans coming to my Seder. We’ll have a brisket and a whole lot of other dishes, including some with vegan protein. I guess living in the SF Bay Area means that vegan just isn’t that hard anymore.
It is pretty typical for my Shabbat meals to be vegetarian, which is pretty darn easy. Vegan is a bit more of a challenge, but my vegan friends are excited to contribute to the meal and I’m thrilled to have them do so.
Are you sharing the workload? You may be thinking that this is all about you, you need to be a gracious host and do all the cooking, etc. But in reality it is about your guests and their sense of comfort and ownership of the Seder experience. What better way for them to feel that they are essential to the evening than to ask them to bring something? Most people can provide a green salad or a fruit bowl. Some folks would love to get a recipe and master a new dish. Others can certainly bring a bottle of wine or gefilte fish, or a box of matzah. One of my family’s Seder traditions is the eggs*. It is easy for me to assign someone the task of bringing a dozen peeled, hardboiled eggs. They love contributing an essential ritual food.
Let’s take a moment to talk about Easter. Easter can go one of two ways. It can be all about the chocolate eggs, bunnies and baskets or it can be about the resurrection of Christ. I asked a Christian coworker whether she would be getting chocolate eggs this year. She said, “I don’t celebrate Easter. It is too commercialized. I celebrate Resurrection Day. It’s about religion for me.” This is a woman whom I deeply respect and I appreciated her sincerity and devotion. But not everyone observes a religious Easter – or for that matter, a religious Passover. Where does your family fall on the spectrum?
Take home message:
Get help with the Seder if you are hosting.
Give help if you are a Seder guest.
Remember that Judaism is a communal religion and everyone should have the chance to contribute.
*The eggs. Some Jews serve hardboiled eggs (I cut mine in half so that people have room for all the other food) to represent rebirth and renewal.
Some interesting details for both holidays.