Jewish · slice of life

The 8th Day of Passover

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This photo was taken of me and my grandparents in 1986 at my uncle’s wedding. It is by far one of my favorite photos I have with them so I keep it on my desk.

Some Reform Jews and Israelis celebrate Passover for seven days. Even though I grew up Reform (I’m now Egalitarian Conservative.), I’ve always celebrated eight days of Passover. While I may not keep the dietary aspect of Passover as strictly as I did when I was in my early 20’s, I haven’t eaten bread, pasta, or cookies during the holiday. Today was no different. I woke up and ate  yogurt and fruit. I found myself out at lunchtime and picked up a protein plate, which contained an egg, fruit, cheese, and bread. I tossed the bread to the side. (In the old days I never would’ve bought this since the bread was in it, but I’ve become less strict over the years.)  On my way home this afternoon, I found myself wondering why I tossed the bread to the side. After all, no one was watching. And besides, there were only seven more hours of daylight left before the sun set on this Passover. As I drove, I pondered it. Why do I keep Passover for eight days when I don’t have to? And then it hit me: my grandparents.

My Grandma and Grandpa are the reason I continue keep Passover for eight days and eight nights. I spent a couple of Passovers at their condo in Florida when I was a kid. I understood why they made me eat Kosher for Passover Crispy-O’s (aka: Cheerios that don’t contain oats so they taste less than stellar) and why I couldn’t eat sandwiches. I may not have liked it, but I respected (but didn’t like) the fact they kept Kosher. And while my husband and I do not have a home that is Kosher for Passover, I choose not to eat leavened products out of respect for their memory.

And then I thought about this a little more. A lot of the things I do Jewishly are in the service of making them proud. So often I go through the motions of Jewish life even though no one is watching. But in reality, someone is always watching. If they are looking down on me from heaven, I hope they are proud of the Jewish life my husband and I are cultivating for our daughter. We may not carry out everything the way it’s meant to be done. But what we do, we do with intention.

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14 thoughts on “The 8th Day of Passover

  1. I think about this a lot Stacey. I grew up strictly Kosher in a small town with only one synagogue- Orthodox which was very limiting for me, a girl who wanted a serious role in synagogue community after I was ordered upstairs. Sadly, I didn’t know or live close enough Yesharum(sp). I would have loved that.
    Instead I opted for next to nothing and Tuvia has little to no interest in organized religion with the exception of the Hoboken synagogue that his kids were involved with.
    Interesting, Tuvia will eat no bread on Passover, in honor of his father.
    Me… I’m a sinner…

  2. Stacey, your post resonated with me today. Especially when you talk about doing what you do with intention. I try to include elements in our holiday celebrations that are intentional. They might not be all the same that relatives here in America are used to, but those elements are meaningful to me.

  3. You do honor your grandparents with the life you are leading. We all have choices to make. The choice you make is not for the watching world but for the being inside of you. You have the ultimate say on what you do.

  4. I think that what we do with intention is what matters to both those watching down on us from above and the little ones watching and learning from what we do. For many years, we eat matzo during the days of Passover leading up to Easter out of respect for the season leading up to Easter, which we celebrate. I During the days when I taught religion to middle school kids, it just made sense and helped us to understand the traditions leading up to the Last Supper we were honoring. This past weekend, we had a pizzagaina (ricotta cake) on hand (even though my kids have never really liked it and my own cholesterol rises when it is in the house) and fresh ravioli in honor of my husband’s Italian heritage as I know my mother-in-law watches down on us proudly. We use my aunt’s coveted (even if tarnished) silverware and a tablecloth that my mom made by hand as a newlywed. My own, now adult children, have watched the traditions over the years and while they will certainly mix the old with new ones (as we have done) they proudly set the table with the old classics and one of them drove out of her way to get a ricotta cake as her mom was too busy with the SOL challenge and somehow forgot to order one!

  5. Family does matter…and we keep them in our heart always. The last two years we had an authentic Sedar (sp) at our church on Good Friday. I was fascinated by this meaningful ritual and what the various foods represented. Your grandparents smile down at your sweet little family. xo

  6. I love this slice. We have traditions from our parents, but many we have created as our own immediate family. It’s fun and hopefully the kids will continue with a couple.

  7. Stacey,

    I really enjoy your slices about your thoughts on being Jewish and your traditions. Growing up and living in eastern Oregon, I have had very little exposure to the religion. Your posts make me want to know so much more and I appreciate any glimpse I get from time to time.

  8. This is a neat tribute to your grandparents. I’m sure they are so proud as they look down and see you honoring them with your actions. I think the symbolism of Jewish holidays is so powerful, and I love that it symbolizes something extra for you!

  9. Your grandparents must have had a positive infuence on you that has been ingrained within. I read with interest your post. I am not Jewish, but my neighbors were and we were invited to celebrate with them and they with us. I found it facinating and was glad that our families shared beliefts with each other. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

  10. It’s honorable and lovely that you keep these traditions for your grandparents. I am sure they are smiling as they look down from heaven and guide many of your decisions…thanks for sharing this!

  11. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts about tradition, Stacey. It’s so nice to have a ‘base’, those grandparents in your case, from which to carry on life’s minutes. Thanks for sharing this one.

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