Continuing my drift into the past, given that is it infinitely more interesting than the present where everyday is like every other day (and not, why is this day/night/meal different)….
12 April 2006, Wednesday
Community Seder, MTV Chapel
After finishing the final email to explain, once again, that tonite was a Jewish community Seder and not open to the general public, we got out the door. Shana came over to help once again (turkey in the oven, potatoes on the stove) but was not feeling well and decided to head home rather than come along.
All the usual on the Seder Plate + turkey, potatoes, tzimmis, potato kugel, apple kugel, spinach pie, salads x 3, soup. There was also a variety of deserts: you simply can not forget either deserts or wine. Even better, two families came early and helped with the set-up making all the difference in the world to my sanity. The teens, sincere there were so many, set up a teen table facing the head table with places for all 9.
The people: 43 three of us all told. Seven families contributing children (Expat, and military) along with six Israelis, a few other military members, some civilian US employees, a couple of locals and few more Expats that we see on occasion. The youngest was barely two, our oldest — I am not sure so I will be polite and figure somewhere well upwards of her seventies. A number of our regulars are back in the States or in Israel: but this is up a significant number from last year, even it being the first night.
The Seder: lead by Annette and Bill as our fearless leaders.
Well, the Haggadahs (Shire’s) that we wanted to use didn’t get here in time. No fault of anyone but for amazon.co.uk whose 1-2 day shipping wound up being 14+ to Jen making it too late to ship them across the Channel by MPS. (would you believe time spent at the Xerox machine this afternoon? Next year we will not do the copyright violation but this is one of the Haggadahs that has both an English and German version). With a fair amount of enthusiasm, we went through the order of the service. Bill moved the piano making it easier to follow the melodies and Annette made packets of the music.
The service is so familiar to me, cup after cup, asking questions, dipping items, mixing and matching the symbolic foods and adding a lot of music to what is both a celebration as well as a solemn ritual. Ducking in and out from the kitchen so that the matzoh ball soup would be ready on time, sometimes I was behind and sometimes ahead.
We added Miriam’s cup with music to the first half of the Seder leaving the rest to the end as well as offering hand washing to those who were interested. The four questions were sung by a couple of the younger boys with everyone helping and Dayenu was sung by just about everyone (well the chorus – how many verses does one need? Four or five – Dayenu!)
The meal: everyone got enough to eat and then some. Even better, there was plenty of help cleaning up right after the meal so that George, Bill and I were not the only ones. Kathie brought containers along to send home care packages for some of the singles plus anyone who was willing to take leftovers. The rest of the turkey came home with us, although not much was left from two full birds.
There were only three young enough to officially ransom the affikomen (which they found, and tried to raise the stakes on the return).
The last glasses of wine and juice saw a mellow group; some participating, some helping with clean up, and a few headed home as not everyone has the next day off. Suddenly it seemed rather late being well after 2100. I sent two out the door (Miriam to a friend and Noah to see her safely there) while Nina pitched in like an adult.
The cups – Elijah for what will happen, Miriam for that which sustains us now, are on the table with the door open welcoming in the future.
May we all be healthy and able to celebrate for the rest of this Passover Season and the rest of this year coming together again next year to talk about our freedom when we came out of Egypt.
May all of you who celebrate the Easter holiday find joy and peace.