“Ima!” cried 3-year old Noam the night before Passover last year.
This night is known as Leil Bedikat Chametz where we hide 10 pieces of chametz in various (utterly obscure) places in the
home and search for them with a candle and a feather.
Guess what? Noam forgot where he hid his piece of chametz. Rest assured that he promised, guaranteed, vowed that he would not forget.
I learned from that little episode that I must get every family to write down their hiding place on a scrap of paper (or dictate it to me) immediately prior the searching ceremony!
Growing up in a “mixed-marriage” Ashkenazi/Sephardi family, I experienced the best of both worlds on Seder nights.
My Abuelo, a short, stout, Spanish-looking man would lead the Sephardic Seder like an army general leads his soldiers. Everything had to be his way, sung in the tune his father and father’s father had sung back in Morocco. Abuela, his faithful, devoted wife, would wash his hands in a regal-looking basin, as a servant would his master, at the Rachtsa part of the Haggadda. My Ashkenazi aunts could not stand all the formality, but as a young child sitting on an utterly regal dining chair hand-crafted with dramatic curves, fine scrollwork, and luxurious upholstery, I felt like a princess in my grandparents’ utterly extravagant mansion. (I didn’t even mention the Amiraglio chandelier lighting the dining space or the three full-wall tapestries adorning the dining room walls.)
“Bibilouya!” my Abuelo would announce suddenly at the onset of the Maggid part of the Seder ceremony.
“Bibilouya!” Abuela would exclaim, jumping up from her luxury chair, rushing to bring Abuelo the Seder Plate.
Abuelo, Seder Plate in hand, would travel from guest to guest, smashing (I mean symbolically waving) said plate over head after head, chanting the ancient words from the Haggadah in a fantastic Moroccan melody:
“Bivhilou Yatzanu mimitzrayim, leshana habaa bnei chorin!”
(The younger cousins would run away at this point for fear of getting their heads smashed a bit too hard. But I just gobbled up these large doses of rich colorful tradition).
The Ashkenazi Seders held at Bubby Minnie’s humble abode were prized opportunities to fill up on matza ball soup, sponge cake (“look at how fluffy it came out this time!”) and too much Kedem grape juice.
By the time we were ready to open the door for Eliyahu, half my uncles, aunts and cousins could be found zonked out on the plastic-covered granny couches or even under the table. (I recall the year that I, a sweet 10-year-old, was honored with the privilege of opening up the door for Eliyahu HaNavi. Who should be standing outside the door but my great-uncle Hymie who forgot what time he was supposed to arrive!)
Sephardi or Ashkenazi, I now realize in retrospect that the warmth of Judaism had always been passed down to me in the guise of home-made traditional foods, Hebrew songs and plenty of family time. Seder night was the epitome of this muble-jumble of Jewishness.
The Passover Seder is one of the most widely-observed Jewish traditions by non-observant and observant alike.
This evening, rich with rituals, celebrates the miracle of our nation’s freedom from slavery in Egypt.
The centerpiece on the table is the Seder Plate holding the six ritual items that tell the story of our nation’s slavery and redemption. A beautifully designed Seder Plate will resonate the message of the evening, reflecting the importance you attach to Jewish tradition and custom. If you are looking for a plate that is splendid and majestic and will hold everyone’s attention, I would advise you to choose any one of these curated (by me!) Seder Plates from aJudaica’s 2017 collection:
1. Our most prestigious (ok, I mean expensive!) Seder Plates are designed by luxury Judaica designer Avner Agayof. The Purple-Silver Agayof Seder and Matza Plate, made of ultra-modern anodized aluminum will add a dramatic touch to your tablescape.
2. Yair Emanuel, world-famous best-selling Judaica artist, has a fun and colorful selection of highly-detailed Seder plates. My favorite is the Oriental Seder Plate and Six Small Bowls, lusciously painted in shades of red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and fawn… ok, you get the point!
3. If you’re looking for a lively Jerusalem-themed Seder plate that will generate oohs and ahhs, the Rotating Seder Plate by Kakadu – Colorful Jerusalem is definitely for you.
4. An all-time favorite with our customers worldwide, a Dorit judaica item never fails to please and delight. Dorit’s Passover collection includes coordinating matza and afikoman covers, seder plates and matza stands. Her Colorful Pomegranate Seder Plate will make for a striking centerpiece on your Seder table.
5. In search of something a bit more classic or affordable? You will probably enjoy the Round Silver Plated Passover Plate or the Armenian Ceramic Passover Seder Plate.
Price: Under $20.00
Wishing you a kosher and happy Passover!