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Day 25: Why is this night different?

I don’t really have to go there, do I? Most of us are about to have a very different Passover. We usually do seders at my parents’ house, often with more than 20 people. Tonight it’s the six of us. And alone in their respective houses, my parents and my in-laws.

I’ve tried hard to make this seder special and festive with what we have here. The table is set with our formal dishes, cutlery, and crystal, which we haven’t used since before we had children. I broke out the emergency canned peaches to make a peach crumble; the marshmallows I’d kept hidden finally saw the light of day as a topping for sweet potatoes; we even have some of those jelly fruit slices that everybody loves if only for the nostalgia they evoke. IMG_3077

I got the kids involved in preparations too, to replicate as closely as possible the atmosphere of bustle and anticipation that normally pervades my mum’s kitchen at this time. E and I made charoset, this year singing the opening song from Prince of Egypt calling out “Sand… mud… water… straw!” as we added the ingredients: ground almonds for sand, honey for mud, wine for water, and grated apples for straw. E was the mixer and taste-tester.


R and N built a LEGO model of the Israelites approaching the Red Sea. It’s our centerpiece tonight.

K finished painting the seder plate we made out of plaster. We’re waiting for the paint to dry so we can fill it with all the symbolic foods. I think she did a lovely job.


Normally we’d bring fresh flowers home to decorate, but of course florists aren’t essential workers, and we’re trying to avoid stores as much as possible. But on our way home from picking up Haggadot and gefilte fish from my parents’ front porch, I spotted some flowers growing by the curb, outside of the fence that surrounds a large city park. E and I decided to stop and pick some for our table.

I was also instructed to take a picture of E with a large stick she found: “Eema, take a picture of me being Moses! Look, I’m making the plagues with my stick!” She brandished the stick in a gesture worthy of Charlton Heston.

I could say more, but it’s time to start getting dressed so that we can huddle together in our home, telling stories and waiting for a plague to pass us over. This night is different from all other Seder nights, though it bears a passing resemblance to the very first one.

I wish you all a happy and meaningful Passover.


One thought on “Day 25: Why is this night different?

  1. Oh, I love all these preparations — and especially the centerpiece. Not being able to carry out traditions with my extended family is a difficult part of this pandemic.

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