I wish I was Jewish. No really. Since I studied Hebrew traditions in a bible study last year, I’ve been fascinated by Jewish culture. I mean, who doesn’t love matzo ball soup?
So, in keeping with my quest to become a more experienced Jew, I joined my friend Carla and her family at their Passover Seder. By joined, I really mean begged my way into Carla’s Seder. I probably brought it up in January in hopes that she’d invite me. I’m weird like that. Needless to say, I was over the moon to be going to a Jewish Seder.
Carla’s family is all South African so I definitely stuck out like a sore thumb. I shook lots of hands and tried to remember every family member’s name, nodding, knowing they probably looked at me thinking “Who is this small brown girl trying to get in on our Seder?”. On a side note, I now call Carla, “Cah-la” because it just sounds so refined and makes me feel exotically foreign.
Immediately, I meet Carla’s aunt’s girlfriend who is busy assigning parts to the Seder story/prayers. She looks at me confidently and says, “Laleanne, I’ve assigned you a part to read”. I smile enthusiastically, although I’m terrified on the inside.
I’m going to be honest, the traditional prayers and stories pretty much went over my head. I think I concentrated so hard on trying to be proper and make sure I didn’t miss my assigned reading that everything else sounded like Charlie Brown’s mom talking. Sad, right? I was nervous. Seriously. My palms were sweating. I wasn’t about to screw up my part of the Seder story. Nuh uh– not gonna be the brown one to bring the Seder Spirit down.
My part came and went and we began eating the appropriate parts of the Seder plate: parsley in salt water (for tears), hard boiled egg, horseradish, and charoset (which apparently I pronounce in an asian accent). Now whoever brought the homemade horseradish deserves some kind of horseradish award. My first two bites were small and pleasant, so I went in for a big bite next and bit off more than I could chew (literally). Real tears actually started to fill my eyes and my sinuses have been clear ever since. Ha! Then came my favorite part – homemade matzo ball soup. I was a glutton and asked for seconds.
Why’d I ask for seconds? Unbeknownst to me, there was a whole meal to be served. By the time to brisket, chicken, peas, and potato plate got served to me, I was stuffed! Oh and there was dessert too! Flourless chocolate cake (delicious!) and flourless sponge cake with fresh berries and whip cream. By the end of the night I was a stuffed-stomach, happy little wannabe Jew.
Cheers to my first Seder. Next year, I’ll bring the Manischewitz!