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Weblog Entries for Category: Mothers Circle Passover

Introducing the Seder Survival Guide

Passover is a wonderful time for families to come together. While the prospect of hosting a seder for the first time can be quite daunting, being raised in a Jewish household affords you a familiarity with the Passover story and its greater themes of hardship, survival and freedom. Preparing the food, selecting the haggadot (seder guides), and answering your children’s questions are all part of this significant Jewish holiday, and having attending seders as a child may help you to better prepare your home and your family for Passover.

But what if you never grew up attending seders, yet are still committed to raising Jewish children? What if you want to attend a seder with your family (or even host one!) and want to feel empowered enough to ask and answer questions about Passover with your children? It is for these parents—those who are in intermarried/interpartnered relationships raising Jewish children—that The Mothers Circle now offers a FREE holiday prep-class, the Seder Survival Guide. In this workshop, participants will have the chance to explore the story and themes of Passover; and learn how to prepare for the holiday’s unique culinary traditions, how to answer their children’s questions, and how to engage the family throughout the evening meal!

The Seder Survival Guide serves as a pathway to make Passover as accessible and fun as possible for parents in intermarried/interpartnered relationships. For Jewish communities and organizations looking for new ways to engage these young families, the session offers a unique environment, conducive both to Jewish learning as well as the essential development of relationships between young parents from intermarried/interpartnered couples. If your community is ripe for a change and looking for a new Passover program, host a Seder Survival Guide! To learn about the program and its curriculum, contact The Mothers Circle National Coordinator, Marley Weiner at MWeiner@JOI.org



Enjoying the Seder

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

“We are not remotely observant enough to justify to your teachers why we are so late this morning!” I yelled at my daughters this morning.

“What does that mean?” Eight-year-old Elizabeth sobbed.

“Just get in the car!”

Thus was our first morning celebrating Passover. On Monday night my husband astonished me. The girls and I arrived home at 6:30 pm after our usually hectic Monday of school followed by guitar and skating lessons. After considerable discussion and debate (read: arguing), we’d agreed that my husband would buy a roasted chicken for dinner that night and that I’d prepare a more formal meal for Seder on Tuesday.

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A Seder on Any Night of Passover

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

I’ve been fretting about the first night of Passover and how I can pull off a Seder: (a) by myself; (b) when I won’t get home with the kids until at least 6:30 pm, and; (c) I need to get the kids in bed (lights off) by 8:00 pm.

I figured if I did a lot of preparation the day before, I could just heat things up when we got home Monday night and then just try to move along as briskly as possible. Presumably our daughters wouldn’t be the only kindergartner and 2nd grader who stayed up too late that night and showed up at school on Tuesday bleary-eyed. Nevertheless, this solution didn’t lend itself to the thoughtful approach to a Passover Seder to which I aspire.

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Passover and Easter

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Years ago, I somehow imagined that marrying a Jew would eliminate the perennial question which most (Christian) couples face, “whose parents will we visit for Easter/Christmas?”

I was wrong.

Despite my husband’s strong assertion, “We’re Jewish,” they also enjoy what has become the secularized American holidays Christmas and Easter. At Easter, my husband and his brother always dyed eggs had enjoyed an Easter egg hunt at their home.

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Cleaning for Passover

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Recently, I found myself reflecting on a Passover checklist. One glance had me simultaneously laughing and growing anxious. I laughed because the items reflected an approach to Passover and the Seder which is wholly absent in our home. Anxiety set in when I saw what we’re not doing and started second-guessing how we do things.

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Of Blessed Memory

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

My sister died suddenly two weeks ago.

My friend who has always hosted the first night Seder told me that she would be in Florida for the first night this year with her parents.

Another friend said she would host one night, but that I would have to help her, as she has never hosted a Seder before. Yes, she’s Jewish.

I keep thinking of the trove of kind folk who always join us at both Seders. What will they do if I don’t host one night?

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An Entirely Different Dilemma

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

All of us that are Non-Jewish Women Raising Jewish Children (Can we get a better acronym here? Anyone?) have in front of us the Christmas/Hanukah choices and compromises. For me, it has been easy to show my children that we celebrate only Hanukah in the home, but when we visit grandparents, aunts and uncles and other loved ones, we are free to enjoy their holiday as honored visitors, and that is how everyone makes us feel.

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Passover Questions

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

I’ve started preparing for Passover in the last week or so, and in keeping with my Passover resolution for this year, I’m trying to enjoy the process (and not focus too much on feeling overwhelmed by the preparations). I’m planning a seder with two other families, both of which happen to include Israelis. As my husband pointed out, at least now we’ll learn how to pronounce everything. I read the Jewish 101 Passover faq, which actually made the whole enterprise seem less complicated. I finished reading it and thought, well, surely we can get through that much, even with the nanosecond attention span of the younger members of our family. Another friend of mine shared her secret for getting through all of the preparations without losing her mind…she hires a cleaning service and buys the Passover dinner offered by one of our local grocery stores. Brilliant!

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Reaching Out of Our Big Tent

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

This week I attended Mosaic, our local Jewish Federation’s Women’s Division annual luncheon. I have been the past four years—while I am not a member of the sponsoring organizations (and shhh, don’t tell anyone—not Jewish). This year’s speaker was Iris Krasnow, a journalist and writer. All of you with mothers, spouses, and/or children should run out right now and get her books, and go see her speak if you can. But maybe that’s for another blog.

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A Calendar of Events

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Lately I have been thinking about how my life has shifted to a different calendar than the one I knew as a child. I remember my mom’s calendar on the refrigerator, with scribbles of schedules every day of the week; the eagerly anticipated Advent calendar at Christmas; the seemingly endless supply of airplane-themed calendars that my dad, an aviation historian, delighted in bestowing on his less than thrilled offspring. If there were any Jewish holidays on our many calendars, they existed only in polite small type at the bottom of the squares. My family celebrated Christian holidays out of habit and an appetite for chocolate, rather than for religious reasons. The calendar revolved around the academic year and family vacations (Colorado!! in red ink); our various enthusiams and hobbies (Piano recital! Soccer practice! Air show!) and whatever time my mother could squeeze in for herself (Walk dog!). My mom habitually punctuated all activities with exclamation points, and I never understood why, until I became the keeper of our family calendar. It’s the equivalent of mental coffee–keep going!!!

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Thinking About Food

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Food has been on my mind a lot recently. How to eat for good health, educate my kids about food, keep my weight at a healthy level, and most importantly, eat, eat, eat. I love to cook, and I love to eat! Our family shares this “live to eat” mentality, and cooking and family dinnertime is a don’t-miss event in our house.

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Planes, Trains and Afikomen

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

A bit more than a decade later, I’m still trying to figure out what we’re doing for Passover, with whom, and how we’re doing it. Trying to raise Jews (not having been raised one myself) I feel like the bar’s a lot higher for me. My husband and his family try to assure me otherwise. Nevertheless, I still feel like it falls primarily to me to instill in my daughters why we do what we do.

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Discovering New Passover Traditions

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

My son became a Bar Mitzvah this past year. Why is that of significance to Passover? He’s usually the youngest. Hes been the youngest at both his Godmothers Seder table and ours for years now. Ever since he was able to ask the 4 Questions, he has been asking them beautifully, and thats been quite a while. Personally, I love hearing him, he has a beautiful voice.

Last year he begged me. Do I have to? I’m so tired of it! Of course, I told him, until you’re 99 if you are the youngest! He snarled at me, and I laughed.

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Who is She and Why is She Here?

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

When my husband and I were engaged and I was interested in learning more about practicing Judaism, I attended a Seder workshop which was sponsored by a synagogue. The workshop was intended for folks who were leading a Seder for the first time or who wanted to “spice up” their usual Seder.

Before I showed up, I was pretty concerned that everybody there would immediately know I wasn’t “one of them” and wonder why I was there. I anticipated that if they knew that I was there because I was trying to redeem myself as a schiksa it’d only be worse. Despite my anxieties, I mustered up my courage and think I managed not to wince when I introduced myself as Christine (In my honest opinion, among the worst names for somebody marrying a Jew).

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Passover: Chaos from Order

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Passover is a totally different holiday than anything I was used to celebrating growing up Catholic. My first Passover five years ago was the start of making this our biggest Jewish tradition, and we really like it. I think my favorite part about it is the fact that it is ordered chaos. I have never been to anything like it! Here’s what I mean. The very word seder means order (right? Hey, I’m still learning here!). But the very order of evening’s events seems to give rise to a lot of freedom, mix in the kids, and it’s organized chaos. But in a good way! Here are some of the ordered chaos things I have noticed at seders I have attended or hosted.

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Two Months

Below is the latest entry in the “Preparing for Passover” Blog written by participants in JOI’s Mothers Circle Program:

Two months.

On Friday I brought my daughter to the airport as she headed back to college, that’s when I realized that Passover is just about two months away.

Whew! I thought, I’m not really up to start thinking about another holiday quite yet. I feel like I just got through New Year’s, Christmas, Chanukah – and well, it was my son’s Bar Mitzvah, that’s really what I’m recovering from.

Then reality caught up with me. Two months is not that long.

“Don’t worry, dude,” my daughter said to her younger brother, “I’ll be back in a few weeks for Passover. You won’t even have time to miss me.”

She’s right; it really isn’t that far away.

After 22 years of marriage, I have learned that the moment it occurs to me that there’s a holiday approaching, I need to jump on it and start to get things ready! And Passover requires the greatest forethought.

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Passover Blog Series

As the Jewish community begins preparing for Passover, we are reminded of the increasing number of interfaith families who will be celebrating the holiday this year. Preparing and executing the meal upon which the holiday centers – the Seder – is a complex and time consuming task for anyone, much less folks of other religious backgrounds who are now in our midst. From cooking a meal with no yeast or leavened bread to weaving in the story of Jewish emancipation, the holiday can seem overwhelming. To help ease some of the tension, we have reached out to a few participants of our Mothers Circle program for guidance. As non-Jewish women who are raising Jewish children, they must navigate foreign religious customs, unique dietary restrictions, and a number of cultural quirks. Over the next couple of months, these women will be posting blog entries to share their thoughts and reflections on what it takes – emotionally, physically, and spiritually – to prepare for the Passover holiday as newcomers to Jewish ritual and customs. We invite you to follow along, forward blog entries to anyone you think would be interested, and share your own thoughts in the comment section on our blog.

These women will be providing a valuable tool for all intermarried families who might find this holiday a challenge to plan. Through their own experience they will show us that no matter the challenges, there are a variety of ways to realize the warm, welcoming and inclusive essence of Passover.





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