Pesach, Party of One
When I asked my kids, "Who's keeping Passover with me this year?" I didn't expect an enthusiastic chorus of "me, me, mes!"
But a mom can dream.
"No way, mom," said 10-year-old Maxon.
"No cereal? No French toast? Not me," said 7-year-old Ezra.
Now, I think my rules for keeping Passover are pretty easy. I am strictly anti-chametz. I don't buy into the Ashkenazi "anything that expands" camp. My family loosely followed the Ashkenazi guidelines when I was growing up, but at Chez Raphael, kitniyot is on the menu. Judge away, friends, but I see no need to pile on more restrictions, especially since I doubt any Jews in Egypt left their Jiffy Pop on the stove as they rushed to leave.
Even so, I can’t blame my kids for wanting to opt out. I am the only one who keeps Passover in our home. I can't even purge the chametz from the house because my husband Michael will be buttering his English muffins and enjoying turkey sandwiches all week.
When it comes to the seder, we are all in it together. This year, we are going to be on holiday in the Blue Ridge Mountains with another family. My girlfriend and I are planning to cook and have a small-scale seder in the vacation house. But once the seder is over and the restrictions begin, I am on my own. El solo no carbo.
Do I wish we also presented a united front throughout Passover? Yes. Yes, I do. In fact, when it comes to Jewish traditions and rituals, there are many instances where I wish that Michael and I were of the same mind (his philosophy on not wearing tallit, for instance). But our sons also get to witness two different and beautiful expressions of Judaism. And when it comes to religion, I want them to experience it as malleable, not unyielding.
I don’t think Passover is easy, and it shouldn't be. I will miss my carbs. I will miss my flax seed and onion pita chips with soft brie, my pasta, my buttery English muffins, my labne and olive sandwiches, my challah with olive oil, black pepper and za'tar.
But I will not give in to the peer pressure from my chametz-eating family. I will make a dietary nod to the Jews who followed Moses into the desert. I will cook the most delicious matzo brei I can create. And maybe one year, when I ask who is keeping Passover with me, they will answer, "I will!"