They tried to kill us! We survived! Let's eat! (A Passover Tale)


Pesach starts today.
Firstly, it's pronounced like you have something stuck in the back of your throat, or just stick to Passover.

Pesach isn't my favourite.
When doing Pesach in London, it means the dreaded trip to Kosher Kingdom, It's hilarious. People running around grabbing the last box of Matzah, debating whether or not to buy a packet of exceptionally over priced sweets, people chatting to each other about how many they're having for Seder, comparing dishes and guest numbers in the aisles. 
This year the conversations were slightly different as everyone is keeping it small, but the rushing around and ignoring the one way system was still exactly the same. Old habits die hard.



This is now the second Lockdown Pesach. 
Just to keep you up to date with what this festival is...

Have you seen The Prince Of Egypt?
Ding Ding Ding, that's the Passover story.
The Jews were slaves in Egypt. Moses's mum put him in a basket down the Nile and he becomes an Egyptian Prince. (Some people have all the luck.)
 When older, Moses kills an Egyptian guard and is confronted with his actual reality. He runs away, falls in love, becomes a shepherd, hears God from a burning bush. Becomes the leader, 10 plagues, lots of "Let my people GO!" Red sea, THE END. With me so far?

Dead Sea 2019 Pesach

Most festivals that Jewish people celebrate tend to be a celebration of us not dying.
Chanukah - The Macabees are victorious,
Purim - Queen Esther saves the Jewish people from Haman's evil plan to destroy them,
Pesach - Moses does a few miracles with God's help and happy days, freedom.

Aside from the celebration of us not dying, all these festivals seem to have manifested into having food as a focal point.

Chanukah - The oil burned for 8 days when there was only oil for one. So what do we do, eat literally anything fried in oil. From Latkahs to doughnuts. I want to meet the person who came up with this, because they're a legend. 

Purim - Haman's ears were cut off before he was executed for trying to kill the Jews, so (and this one is weird) we eat ear shaped pastries to remind us of victory.

Pesach - We eat tasteless food that makes us constipated because the slaves couldn't wait a few more minutes for their dough to rise. You'd think after 10 plagues they wouldn't want the 11th to be Matzah. The saving grace is you are actually have to have 4 cups of wine. You can be sure that I will be getting merry this year. 

Pesach is one of those festivals that you grow up learning about. It's almost like your introductory course into Jewish persecution. That's pretty much how every family feels when they have to make Pesach.
I would be lying if I said I'm changing everything over in my flat, Pesach food is expensive and I've never understood what the difference is between Pesach Diet Coke and every day Diet Coke. I know already, my Dad will be livid at me even writing that, but hey, what's a Jewish festival without tradition and hint of guilt.
Having said all that, I am staying at my Parents for Seder night. Last year Seder just the 5 of us was very unexpected with my Grandparents on zoom. Letting Elijah come in seemed rather hypocritical. (A Jewish joke for you there).

Pesach (Passover) is a time to remember our journey as a people. This year has certainly not been easy for our community. From EHRC reports to Wiley's antisemitic tweets to the debate on if Jews are "other." 
The food on a Seder plate literally represents our pain and suffering. We dip things in salt water to remind us of our tears. If that doesn't make us "other" I don't know what does.

As we come out of this pandemic, I hope we all find a way to embrace other people's identity and celebrate it. I'm not religious, I've never claimed to be, but culture and customs are what keep our communities live and kicking. 

As the good book says "Next year in Jerusalem." (Anywhere abroad at this point will do).












   


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