It's Passover, or as I like to think of it, Jewish Thanksgiving. Think about it: both holidays involve a large meal with traditional foods, commemorating historical events. Last night even featured a major sporting event to watch if you cared who won (the NCAA basketball championship game).
Last night my friends and I held our annual seder for the Jews and "Jew-curious" at James & Jess's apartment in Brooklyn. Our seder is a tradition that goes back to 1994 at Georgetown, when we didn't want to go to the official Jewish Student Association celebration, so we had our own and invited all our Gentile friends. We missed a few years when we didn't all live in the same city, but for the past four years we've had the seder. This year the majority of those present were Jewish, which I think is a first. Only one guest was not Jewish, and he's been to our seder before.
Since none of us are particularly devout, our seder combines traditional elements with some innovations of our own. For example, each year I have to Google "seder plate" to find out what goes on it. We didn't have a shank bone this year, so James substituted a giant frozen chicken neck that thawed as the seder went on. We don't have a matzah cover, so we use paper towels. We only have one hagadah, so we pass it around and take turns reading the various blessings and prayers. However, we did have a brisket, matzah ball soup, and three bottles of wine, one of which wasn't kosher for Passover so we drank it before we started the seder. As a result, we got started late, around 8:45 PM, so we didn't get to the meal until 10. By the time we were done eating, we were all sleepy and ready to go home, so we finished the last two cups of wine, welcomed Elijah, and looked forward to next year in Jerusalem in about 10 minutes.
And I've already fallen off the Passover wagon. I had some Life cereal for breakfast this morning, and it's got wheat flour in it. Although seven hours is better than the time in college when I left the seder and went directly to a keg party with green beer for St. Patrick's Day.
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