This past Saturday I had the opportunity to experience my first Passover seder in almost 20 years (formerly catholic atheists don’t get invited to jewish religious traditions very often…so I’m glad I took this opportunity). It was somewhat of a surreal experience that included a bevy of different religious and areligious affiliations that I think would rival most any other seder. Of the 10 people, we had 3 jews (talking religion here not cultural), 2 atheists, 1 agnostic, 1 almost methodist, 1 catholic, 1 christian/Buddhist/whatever, and 1 guy who I’m not sure on. That all being said the tradition of reading from the torah or at least reading parts of the torah transcribed elsewhere was in full effect…even for me. To spice things up, we even had a play. Everyone had a part to play to retell the story of moses and the pharaoh and the ten plagues of Egypt. At first I wanted to be god because that would have been the most ironic, I settled for the burning bush because that is not only a stand-in for god but also just absurd and also a bit ironic. Other parts included moses and his brother , aaron, and of course pharaoh. I attempted my best dramatic effect, trying to channel incendiary shrubbery the whole time…though method acting is tough when you play a bush. Anyways, after all that was the traditional matza, bitter herbs, egg, and wine. The meal requires that participants drink a total of 4 glasses of wine which to me means that we are perhaps not celebrating the exodus of the jews but really the inebriation of the jews…just as good if not better that way I think. I started with the traditional Manischewitz, a small but potent glass. The second glass I decided needed to be cut a bit with grape juice...the third a little more...and the fourth was Manischewitz free for me. “Man O Manischewitz” is right. After the readings and the acting and the drinking, I was building up quite a hunger which was convenient because the meal was coming. What was on the menu you ask...beef brisket which is a meal that I think only jews and rednecks should be allowed to make. I’ve had brisket on a number of occasions made by northeastern goy and it just does not compare. A large brisket and a jewish mother are such a stunning combination that I would almost give the whole religion a pass if it guaranteed that the recipe would continue to be passed down. A couple of side dishes were thrown in too for good measure including some roasted dill potatoes that I was a big fan of. All in all, quite satisfying which forced me to ward off a food coma for at least an hour post meal. Well worth it though, L’CHAIM!!! Patrick OUT!!!
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