Monday, April 21, 2008

Passover


No, I haven`t given up, as Emmanuele put it, but I've been very very bad, I know. I can't explain what happened even to myself...I know I used the computer almost every day but I just wasn't able to reply to any e-mail, to write (or think of) anything to write on my blog, to do any of my homework, to do any laundry...what happened to me? I just don't know. I do know I feel bad about my homework (which I intend to start as soon as I post this) and I do know I feel tired too, in the morning and in the evening. Don't ask me why...maybe I`m just doomed to tiredness.


One of the reasons I haven`t been able to write is Jewish Passover. At around this time of the year (but the exact date changes according to the lunar calendar), Jewish celebrate Moses and the freedom he brought from the Egyptian Pharaoh. This is probably the most popular holiday in Jewish families and its beginning is celebrated with big dinners called Seders. Personally, I took part in two Seders for the first and second day of Passover. So, this time, instead of looking up the holidays on Wikipedia and write about Jewish tradition, I`m just going to rely on my memory and try to re-tell the experience from a very personal point of view.

The first thing I found out about this holiday is that it requires a lot of cooking. Since my host-mom was hosting the first night Seder, we had to prepare some of the traditional Jewish meals. First of all, the famous Matzo Ball Soup, which is chicken broth with some spongy balls made out of Matzo, oil and eggs. Now, I imagine you are wondering what Matzo is. It's a sort of cracker (actually, it tastes a lot like Doriano, my favorite Italian crackers!), the only sort of bread that Jews are allowed to eat during the 8 nights of Passover (it's unleavened bread made out of white flour and water). Well, for how simple it can sound, making a good Matzo Ball Soup for around 20 people takes a really long time. Along with Matzo Ball Soup, Jews usually have on their tables Brisket, Tsimmes (something that goes with the Brisket), roasted chicken, Gefilte fish and some sort of vegetable.

Besides having all of these dishes ready for the actual dinner, there are some other things that need to be set on the table before the ceremony that precedes the dinner begins. Before the dinner starts, in fact, the whole family likes to remember the reason why this holiday is celebrated reading prayers and passages from the Bible, and singing songs together. This is when they re-tell the story of Moses, the suffering the Jewish people had to endeavor in Egypt before they achieved freedom. While they go through the story/history, they have food that represent feelings and parts of the story:

  • Karpas - usually parsley (but it can be celery too) which is dipped in salt water. This symbolizes the pain and the tears of the Jewish slaves in Egypt.
  • Maror or Bitter Herb - usually horseradish. It represents the bitterness of Jewish conditions as slaves.
  • Charoset - a yummy mixture of nuts and honey which represents the abundance of food.
  • Shankbone - which represents the Passover sacrifice
  • Beitzah or Hard-boiled egg - which represents the festival sacrifice. I still didn't understand the difference of the Shankbone sacrifice and the egg one.

Finally, I found out that Passover Seders make you gain a lot of weight. Going on a scale the day after definitely wasn't the fun part. I guess I`ll e spending a lot of time at the gym this week...:/

3 comments:

Emmanuele said...
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Emmanuele said...

Well well, tired girl so i can read u again :) ...i must say that today i'm tired too, we went to bed at 3.30 AM and i got up at 6.40 AM...and before going to bed we had to carry to the ER a stabbed man... :S

About your meals in the last week...i know that Jewish people has this tradition on the food...but i didn't know what they eat..ehhehe...new stop learning... ^_^

adry mendes said...

Well, but you have reasons (a lot) to be tired. I don`t...I just feel tired every morning and every evening...
tonight I had a day off and I don`t feel so tired...

Passover food is so yummy...but sadly fattening :(