Last Thursday Rootbeer had her annual goyish Seder. It's part of the two-part Easter-Passover cavalcade of events that starts with the goyish seder and ends with a Sunday Keaster (kosher Easter) brunch. This was the fourth annual seder that Rootbeer has thrown for her Jewish and Gentile friends, bringing the traditions of the Jewish half of her heritage to her community of friends in DC. Rootbeer's seder is a night of singing, tradition, learning, and most of all, fun. This year's seder was extra special because of the homemade haggadah and the presence of Rootbeer's boyfriend's mother who is not only Jewish but Jewish from BROOKLYN. I think her presence compensated for all of the gentiles at the table and she was truly a hoot, a perfect addition to the Passover feast.
While we follow the traditional service as read in the hagaddah with some interesting changes. The most interesting is the orange on the seder plate to go with the parsley, horseradish and lamb shank. This is because a very orthodox rabbi said that women belong in the clergy as much as an orange belongs on the seder plate. Many Jewish feminists have taken this as a call to arms and place oranges on their seder plates.
For those of you unfamiliar with a seder. The ceremony goes as follows:
KADDESH Kiddush (1st cup of Wine)
URECHATZ Wash hands, before eating Karpas
KARPAS Eat parsley dipped in salt water
YACHATZ Break the middle matzah - hide the Afikoman
MAGGID The telling of the story of Passover (2nd cup of Wine)
RACHTZAH Wash hands before the meal
MOTZI Blessing for "Who brings forth", over matzah
MATZAH Blessing over matzah
MAROR Blessing for the eating of bitter herbs
KORECH Eat matzah with bitter herbs & charoset
SHULCHAN ORECH Passover Dinner
TZAFUN Eat the Afikomen
BARECH Blessings after the meal (3rd and 4th cups of Wine)
HALLEL Recite the Hallel, Psalm of praise
NIRTZAH Next year in Jerusalem - conclusion of the Seder
Song of Rejoicing Song of Rejoicing (technically, this is after Seder)
In telling the story of passover, friends take turns playing the four children who ask questions aobut passover. For example, there's the wise child who asks "why is this night different from other nights?" I, of course, have the role of the wicked child who asks "what does this mean to you?" I got this role because at the first Rootbeer seder I wondered what was so wicked aobut asking aobut hte meaning of Passover. Didn't that signify a healthy curiosity and a keen itnerest in the tradition? But as we learned the key word was YOU, indiciating that the wicked child didn't feel Jewish. While I don't completely buy into that, I did say my line in my brattiest wicked child voice.
Like so many other holidays, food plays a big role in passover. Not just the symbolic bitter herbs, salt water, or parsley, but the meal itself which signifies plenty and suffering at the same time. Rootbeer makes well known Ashkenazi haroset (which symbolizes the mortar that Jewish slaves used to build with in Egypt) with apples, raisins, walnuts and wine. She also made persian haroset with pistachios, oranges, and dates. The meal was spectacular, gelfite fish (which I actually like), matzo ball soup with plenty of fresh herbs (Rootbeer's boyfriend's doing), two kinds of brisket, rutabaga, spinach frittata and a roast chicken courtesy of Rootbeer's boyfriend's mother. Throughout the feast we sang songs of passover to decidedly non-Jewish tunes. For example, we sang to the tune of Louie, Louie - Pharaoh, pharoah, whooooa baby, let me people go, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. Or Doooooon't forget the Afikooooomen, to the Battle Hymn of the Republic.
The best part of this traditional steeped meal is dessert that consisted of chocolate macaroon and Rootbeers famous crack matzo that consistes of matzo with bronw sugar and chocolate melted over it. It's like a Jewish skor bar.
I'm crazy gateful fro Rootbeer and the other Jews forbearance of our ignorance and their willingness to share their tradition with us. The boyfriend's mom was a great additional and for once I think the Jews outnumbered the gentiles. NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!