How strange these times are. But somehow each of us has found a way to carry on one day at a time.
When friends and family and colleagues call and start asking “when will it end?” or “what will happen?” I put my hand on my hip and feel like the character from “Gone with the Wind.” In the heat and fires of the civil war, Scarlett O’Hara says firmly, “I’ll worry about that tomorrow!” And that’s how I’m living my life, dealing with everything one day at a time.
I adored one of those days, when my family virtually joined together for a Passover seder that I enjoyed with my wonderful children and grandchildren.
My daughter Samantha had invited my son Josh and his family to live with her, having eight people under the same roof.
Sami had found “Out of the Box” creations who produced a virtual Haggadah prayer book, that we used at the seder (a dinner with prayers that tells the story of Passover), a tradition going back centuries.
The story of Passover — the freeing of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt — has been retold in my house for as long as I can remember.
While going through old photo albums, now that I have some extra time, I found the photo of me as a little girl sitting with my parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins at a crowded table set up in the living room to accommodate my extended family. My mom and my aunt Sophie switched holding the seder dinners on the first and second nights of Passover.
I still remember my dad giving me his “look” — he never raised his voice — to silence me when I giggled with my cousins during what seemed like an endless ceremony. Sixty years later, with my six young grandchildren, decorum is almost out the window during the service portion of the dinner.
I gathered my little family who live with me, my daughter Elizabeth and her children Jonah and Addy and we placed her computer on the large dining room table, connecting with Sami’s table of eight. Using the virtual prayer book, we were all on the same “page!”
Both families ate a similar traditional menu: chicken soup with matzoh balls, gefilte fish, chopped liver, baked chicken, brisket, vegetables and puddings. But before we could eat, we had to recite the prayers.
A powerful part of the seder is when we dip our pinky into the bitter wine to remind us of the 10 plagues (water turning to blood, frogs, lice, flies, livestock pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and the killing of firstborn children) that God sent down on the Egyptians to force them to free the Jews.
For me, a fun part of the seder is searching for the afikoman, a piece of matzah (unleavened bread) that is hidden in the house for children to find, symbolizing the Jews’ journey through the desert on their flight from Egypt on their way to the “Promised Land,” which would be known as Israel.
The seder couldn’t be completed without the afikoman and after eating dinner the kids searched for where I hid it. Jonah and Addy ran feverishly through the ground floor competing for what they knew would be a cash prize.
Jonah, to Addy’s deep despair, found the afikoman hidden behind the clock on the mantle, but I ended up giving each of them a prize!
Every year, for all my life, I’ve celebrated the Passover seder with my family and friends. And while this year was different, all that mattered was that we were virtually together and healthy.
To all my dear readers, I send along warm wishes for a healthy holiday for you, too.