Thursday, March 18, 2021

Ready for Passover?

Tropical Matzoh House

Passover begins at sundown on Saturday March 27th this year. Once again, Larry and I will be celebrating on our own and not with our extended family of 25-30 people. This pandemic has really halted our family celebrations. I'm sad to miss another family gathering.  Zoom Seders just aren't the same.

Following are some photos of our divine dinner from past family Seders.

We have our own, personalized family Haggadah

Matzoh Ball Soup
Gefilte Fish with Horse Radish

Passover is the 8 day observance commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites (Jewish slaves) from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. This is a time of family gatherings and lavish meals called Seders. The story of Passover is retold through the reading of the Haggadah (prayer book). With its special foods, songs, and customs, the Seder is the focal point of the Passover celebration.

When I was a child, my grandfather, Sam Katz was the Chairman of the Seder at Temple Beth Am in Los Angeles. We were required as a family to attend the huge second night seder in the basement Mirror Room of the Temple, Rabbi Pressman and Cantor Kelemar, presiding. I do love getting together with my family, but a huge banquet with long services full of squirming children is not always pleasant. I suppose I was one of those squirming children once, but the kids of my era seemed to have had more restraints and rules governing their behavior than the children of today!

My memories are of banquet food (bleah), the reading of the ENTIRE Hagaddah (prayer book for Passover) and singing more songs than was necessary. Maybe the purpose of this gathering was so that we, as a family, would have shared memories of suffering, like the Jewish slaves in the time of the Pharohs. Today, we speak with fondness of those long ago seders. Every few years my grandmother, Freda would declare that she was going to cook our Passover Seder dinner. That was an event! Grandma used to make her own gefilte fish! It was delicious. Grandpa didn't have as much control over our group as Rabbi Pressman did, so we usually cut the service short so we could get to our meal.

Family Passover Seder, 2013, Valencia, CA

In the past 25 years or so, my cousins Marilyn, Carolyn and I have made most of the food for our family Seder. Other cousins have assignments for decorations, wine, etc. The youngsters are in charge of serving the various courses and clearing the table.

Spinach Souffle, Fruit Compote

Chicken Marbella, Matzoh Kugel
Homemade Cherry and Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Although I'm happy not to handle all of that food prep this year, I do miss our family gatherings. I'm hoping that everyone will be vaccinated by Thanksgiving so we can once again celebrate together. So, whether you're on your own or celebrating with a group, Chag Sameach!

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At 5:23 PM PDT, Blogger ken bloom said...

My memory is gong over to Granpa and Grandma Katz's for the seder. This is before the big temple got built. I remember chasing around the living room as Marilyn, Caroline and I looked for the afikomen. It was all the Katz side of the family. That's the seders that I remember best.


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