Pesach Prep and Our First Visitors from the States

6:21 PM 0 Comments

Pesach is in two days....TWO!

Image from JoyOfKosher
I am two full days behind in my cleaning, and therefore my cooking is also behind schedule due to an unexpected virus (I'm not sure why I still consider them unexpected). Tomorrow our first visitors arrive to Retamim (Gram and Artie) and Friday we have three additional guests coming for seder and Shabbat. I've been planning, running, buying, and cleaning like crazy and I haven't stopped to think or process any of it. There are several things here exciting, happy, sad, nostalgic...

1. We are hosting seder for the first time. I knew the day would come eventually. I didn't think it would be quite this soon, but making a transatlantic move speeds some changes up. It was never reality enough for me to even think about what it would look like when I hosted seder- except I expected to use all of my grandmother's and great grandmother's kosher for pesach things. I don't have many of them but I managed to sneak a few car glasses and a couple of old pots on the lift. These are some of the things Adam was referring to in Stuff Can be Important too. The pesach items that belong to my grandmother and great grandmother only come out once a year, and because of this have very specific memories attached to them. The green bowl and crazy old ladle may be no more, but I will think of them and making kneidlach with my grandmother when I make my own kneidlach every year.

2. There is only one seder here in the holy land. Besides the amount of work and prep that goes into the meal, I am sort of indifferent to this fact.

3. This year I won't be sitting in Gram's living room with 30 of my near and dear. Sad. I don't remember ever having a Pesach seder as small as the one we are hosting (7 adults and our 3 kids). To me its always been about a large, crazy, loud group of family. We all squeeze into the living room (or for many years around the table) and have ourselves a seder. I have so many fond memories of how those seders evolved over the years. I am certainly fond of what they have been the past several years and I will miss you all dearly this year. Have your second four glasses for me.

4. Gram and Artie are coming!! This is extremely exciting. I can't wait for our first guests from the States to arrive to Retamim. I am anxious to show them the home we have made here, introduce them to our friends, and show them this extraordinary community. However, there is something a little daunting and nerve racking about our first guests. They will report back to the others, how is Retamim-really? Are they managing in their tiny caravan? How are the kids? Do they have friends? Are they all actually as happy as they say they are? Its a lot to live up to this week. I sort of feel like we have our own spies coming to check out haEretz.

5. THIS year in Jerusalem (ok not Jerusalem but Israel)!!  We are celebrating Pesach in the desert in ISRAEL! I have moments filled with awe on a daily basis when I look at the beautiful landscape of the Negev desert. Watching my children grow here has already been amazing. They are learning new words everyday and watching there friendships develop into REAL relationships is warming to watch. This community is the environment we wanted for our children; a place where they could be free to be kids and we could be more free to watch them grow.

Things change. We grow up, have our own children, move away, and host our own seder. But things also stay the same. I will sit at the table with my grandmother as I have done every year for the past 31 years. I will drink kosher for Pesach coke (which is no different than coke any other time of year here) out of a glass with a blue old fashioned car on it. And I will eat a hard boiled egg with salt water that was cooked in a beat up pot with a copper lid.

חג פסח כשר ושמח (Happy and Kosher Pesach)!

Thoughtfully written by:

Rachel Hopkins

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