Passover is coming up in April, and I’ve started to stock up. It always seems ironic to me, how Pesach, though commemorating the liberation of a bunch of destitute slaves with the clothes on their backs and some provisions and loot they were able to grab on the way out, is now a festival that only prosperous Jews can afford to observe properly. There may be some poor Yemenite Jews out there who still struggle to make ends meet, but then there are Jews that actually don’t accept them as bona fide kosher Jews.
The Haggadah proclaims it’s as if we ourselves were personally freed from slavery, but it’s hard to relate, when you have to be privileged enough to afford to be Jewish. That pretty much rules out folks like me.
But that’s okay. Being the resourceful type that I am, I find ways to get around our limitations and keep to the spirit and essence of the occasion. Each year I tighten the proverbial belt a little more and keep it even simpler. There are few Jews and fewer Jewish resources out here in Goyland, so I have to get really creative. I think of it as more authentic. It keeps you honest and humble.
Some of our people survived the horrors of WWII, made it to this country, then apparently forgot their own history, turned around and treated other minorities as condescendingly as they had been treated themselves. I never could understand such hypocrisy. Shouldn’t we of all people act justly and mercifully toward fellow victims? I guess it’s just human nature to become desensitized once you make it.
Traditionally, at the end of the seder we repeat the symbolic hope, “Next year in Jerusalem.” It’s the homeland exiled Jews have always longed to return to. Personally, I have absolutely no desire to return to Israel. Once was enough. I love middle eastern culture in general, but I don’t have much sympathy for those who turn around and use their military superiority to persecute fellow semites just as they were persecuted for millennia. Jews, of all people, should know better. But that’s just my position.
So instead I say, next year in Tennessee, which is as close to a “homeland” as I’m likely to find. My son, who was born there, and family are there, and we hope to find some peace and liberation there. (I almost said “deliverance”, but thought better of it! Cue banjo-playing cannibals.) There may be as many gun-wielding religious fanatics there as in the middle east, but hopefully they’ll all just shoot each other and leave us alone.
On that cheery note, here are some signs of Passover’s approach. Of course the obligatory MD, or “sacred syrup”, more parsley, and festive pansies.