Happy Passover!

Happy Passover!

Happy Passover. I hope. When you write with a deadline that is before something that actually happens, you have to pray that all is well when the paper comes out.

These days, you never know what to expect. Husband #1 and I were talking about the stage of life we are currently in. We have no children in college (please refrain from commenting on that) and we don’t have children who have children in college. And, obviously, we are no longer in college, even though we still think we are 20 years old. Now we do have children who have friends who are still in college and friends who have children in college, and the reality of what they are experiencing is truly frightening. I am curious to know if anyone is transferring to Yeshiva University with all that is going on, but that is for another column entirely.

One of my Facebook friends who lives in Israel wrote a post about what it is like for her to prepare for the holiday of freedom when she has a son actively defending that freedom. She makes her mother’s recipes and goes through the motions of cleaning and preparing, but her heart and soul are elsewhere — and rightfully so. I cannot even imagine what the families of the hostages are feeling and what their seders will be like. I think about those who survived the Holocaust but lost their ability to believe in God. What are rabbis telling their congregants? How do we negotiate faith, belief, and prayer? And those who do not question — how do they do that?

A well-known rabbi recently posted (what did we do before social media??) that no one should be complaining about packing for Passover or making Passover when there are those who really have what to complain about. (Though most people who complain about packing and or preparing for Passover are never really happy anyway, so that is a lose/lose.) We can only be responsible for ourselves and how we respond to situations. We can be glass-full folks or glass-empty folks.

Speaking of situations, when Husband #1 is sitting on the couch watching his beloved Rangers play hockey, he calls that “supervising” Passover preparations. Yes, he actually said that. I can respond to that particular situation by throwing something at him (preferably something that is kosher for Passover in order to avoid further cleaning) or I can choose to ignore him and be grateful for the ability to clean my house without his help.

Thank God.

I have to say it is very surreal cleaning for this holiday when you don’t have little kids (or big kids) at home anymore. No hidden candy stashes anywhere, unless they are mine, no shmushed cereal or crackers in the car. Any gross messes on the bottom of the refrigerator cannot be blamed on anyone but Husband #1 or me. Yes, the passage of time is even reflected in holiday prep. But let’s be honest, I cannot even say that it is hard to not have my Oreos around to help me, because I’m a mild control freak and never let them do anything when they lived at home. Yes, I know this is a bad thing and I had to apologize to their wives that they didn’t really know how to do anything and that it was all my fault, like everything else in the world.

But this particular holiday is always very nostalgic. My grandfather used to make charoset with me and my siblings; my dad, using the same chopping bowl and chopper, would make it with my kids. The taste of the cake batter before putting it in the oven results in my texting my sister with a “thinking of you as I taste the batter.” The years we spent at the Granit with my in-laws when my Oreos would bring their mini-hockey equipment and play in the hallway — and spent almost the entire day in the best day camp ever. The years I went to the Concord hotel, where they served the most delicious and probably the most-not-kosher-for-Passover food and where I met some wonderful people. All those memories and it is only a week long.

This year every prayer we say needs to be more meaningful. We need to think positively and have faith that this year’s holiday of freedom will mean freedom for those who were torn from us. May God listen and answer all of our prayers.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is grateful to her friends who are like family and that Sons 1 and 2 got to see each other in the Holy Land.

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