Monday, April 18, 2011


Seder. I've attended only one traditional seder. A Jewish family that observed the major holidays & probably not much else. So it was an informal atmosphere, the table was set beautifully, the family gathered, the traditional rituals observed. I doubt if they got rid of the chametz in the house - the bread-making grains & flours. Maybe those were symbolically put out of sight. We had the matzoh, the herbs, the horseradish, the parsley, the apple & nuts. The four questions were asked. The story was told.

I may even have been invited to read a passage from the Haggadah. Nothing was sung.  The  Afikoman piece of matzoh was hidden. I remember the kid who found it received a small sum of money.

The menu was simple but ample. Good brisket & a roast chicken (the host family were chicken farmer parents of an apt mate),  potatoes & some forgettable vegetable. I wasn't forced to eat gefilte fish, & I left most of the matzoh ball in the soup bowl.  I prefer an Easter ham with strawberry shortcake  for dessert. But the seder was lovely, warm, welcoming, & afterward I received a tour of a modest family chicken & egg farm of the type that's almost entirely disappeared from New Jersey. My friend was embarrassed to have grown up there; didn't understand how exotic it was to suburbanites.

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