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    Happy Passover, Happy Easter!

    Asked Apr 12, 2006, 05:49 PM 22 Answers
    I just wanted to wish all my friends on the board greetings for the spring season...

    If you're Jewish like my family, a very Happy Pesach and Good Seder!

    If you're Christian, a very Happy Easter!

    If you have some other religious practice that I've missed, please add it here if you like, and...

    If you don't celebrate anything, then at least have a good long weekend LOL!

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    JoeCanada76's Avatar
    JoeCanada76 Posts: 6,669, Reputation: 1707
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    #2

    Apr 12, 2006, 08:03 PM
    I hope that you have a beautiful and blessed holiday with your friends and family. My wife's family that we are visiting this weekend do not really celebrate the holiday but being together with family is what is important and I always have God ( Jesus ) in my heart, soul and spirit no matter what time or what holiday is here. I am glad that you included other beliefs as well and yes, it is an extra long weekend which is good too. Hee Haw, extra long weekend. Can't go wrong with that. I do have a question for you? How do you celebrate the Jewish holiday? What are the customs? I am very interested to here. Thank you.

    Joe
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #3

    Apr 12, 2006, 09:11 PM
    Hey Joe thanks for your response! That sounds nice, visiting with your family. I actually really enjoy family get-togethers. I guess maybe because I didn't have enough of them as a child and teen.

    Usually Alex and I don't celebrate Passover; in fact we didn't do anything last year at all. Like I mean nothing. I think maybe he was working and I probably watched television. Man how things have changed in just one year... wowow!! This year we are doing EVERYTHING! Both seders at our house, the special keeping kosher for Passover, the searching for chametz, everything! It's because of our newly adopted children. They are used to doing it, and we want things to be as normal for them as possible. And I am surprising myself, as I am quite enjoying it! :)

    At Passover, no leavened bread or any foods with leavening agents are eaten. This is because the Jews in Egypt, knowing that they were going to be freed, had to bake their bread quickly and it had no time to rise. So it was a hard flat bread, which we call Matzot (Or Matzohs). So, all leavened bread, which is called chametz, has to be removed from the house the night before Passover starts. So last night we had a ceremony of searching for the chametz, which is traditional and a lot of fun for the kids. We looked all over the house for bread, and the kids were even equipped with flashlights and allowed to look deep into cupboards and behind the stove, etc, for any crumbs. Everything we found was packed up or thrown out. Some people burn their bread, but at our synagogue we have a special "holding cell" for the bread lol. So when we were finished packing it all up we drove it to the synagogue, and we can pick it up again after Passover. I'm glad to not burn it, because that would be a major waste of food when so many people are going hungry in the world.

    As you probably know, Passover (actually we usually call it Pesach, which is the Hebrew word), is the Jewish people's way of remembering that we were freed from Egypt. On the last night of the plagues of Egypt, the Angel of Death "passed over" the Jewish households, hence the word Passover. To commemorate this, we have 2 special dinners, which include special prayers and traditions, one was tonight, and the second one will be tomorrow night. They are called seders. Tonight we had a "regular" seder and tomorrow we are having an abbreviated more fun seder just for the kids and their friends. Seders are a little different in each home.

    The seder is a special meal, and since my mother-in-law is here with us this year, she cooked a VERY delicious supper. The traditional foods are hard boiled eggs, chicken soup with matzoh balls, gefilte fish, tsimmes (which is sweet carrots) and of course matzoh. Most people around here (including us!) also have vegetables, couscous, salad, roast chicken and roast beef. My mother-in-law baked 2 special kosher for passover cakes as well, a honey cake and an angel food cake.

    Besides all the yummy food, the seder table also has wine, red horseradish, haggadot (prayer books) at each person's place, bowls of salt water for dipping the egg and vegetables during the meal, and pillows so that everyone can recline and rest during the seder if they want to (I believe Jesus was reclining at the Last Supper!). There is also a special seder plate, on which are placed the following symbolic items: a boiled egg that has been slightly roasted; a shank bone, also roasted; maror (bitter herbs)... we use the red horseradish; karpas (a vegetable, usually celery or parsley), and charoset, a mixture of finely chopped apples and walnuts mixed with wine, and made to resemble mortar. The symbolism for each is:

    Roasted egg: Eggs are a sign of spring and a symbol of rebirth and new life. It is dipped in water to represent tears. The tears are mourning for the Egyptians who drowned in the Red Sea (we call them the Churban). It is also a symbol of the fact that we no longer bring sacrifice as it was done in the old days.

    Flank bone: Again, it is a symbol of the Pascal sacrifice, and also in memory of the Churban. The shank bone is used because its Hebrew word is zeroah (arm), which is the same word used to describe G-d's outstretched arm as He delivered us from bondage.

    Maror (bitter herbs): So that we might taste the bitterness that the Jewish slaves had to endure.

    Charoset: A symbol of the mortar the slaves used to build the temples and pyramids for the Egyptians.

    Karpas (vegetable): A sign of spring, vegetation, new growth and new life.

    The pillow for reclining symbolizes the way free people eat. Slaves do not recline, relax, and take their when time eating. We are no longer slaves, and so we do recline.

    I'm already making this post too long lol so I'm going to try and shorten it a bit. The passover service, which we have at the table while eating, consists basically of the following:

    Blessing the wine
    Washing hands
    Eating the karpas (vegetable)
    Dividing up the matzoh (unleavened bread) and giving some to everyone
    Telling the Passover story
    Washing the hands (again)
    Blessing over matzot
    Eating the bitter herb (usually as part of a small sandwich with matzoh)
    Eating the bitter herb and charoset together (also as a small sandwich)
    Eating the festive meal
    Eating the afikomen (a part of the matzoh that is put aside and hidden)
    Grace after meals
    Hallel
    Conclusion

    The service includes lots of singing and participation by all involved, especially the children. Four cups of wine are drunk during the service as well, at various points. People who can't drink wine can have kosher grape juice instead. The afikomen, which I mentioned earlier, is especially fun for the kids. A part of the matzoh is hidden, kind of like people hide Easter candy, and then the kids have to get up from the table and search for it. Once they find it, they bring it to the head of the table (my husband in this case) and then he has to "buy" it from them, by giving them money or gifts. The service can't be continued until the children agree on a "price", so usually the father is very generous in order to be able to get on with the service. ;)

    Anyway sorry for the long response, but it's hard to describe Passover in a brief way haha. If you have any other questions about it, just ask and I will try to answer. Guess I should also mention that other Jewish people might have different seder traditions, but these are my family's. :)
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    PrettyLady's Avatar
    PrettyLady Posts: 2,765, Reputation: 332
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    #4

    Apr 12, 2006, 10:22 PM
    Happy Easter, everyone, and Happy Passover to my fellow Jewish members. May you all have a wonderful day!
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    milliec's Avatar
    milliec Posts: 262, Reputation: 55
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    #5

    Apr 12, 2006, 10:59 PM
    Chava!
    That was a wonderful description!
    My niece always sends me funny things, and I'll see if I can attach the "seder in 1min." she sent me yesterday.
    In any case, the words there are written in Hebrew and I wonder if it's appropriate to post it here: they might mean nothing to most of the people on the forum
    I have only one thing to add, to make it complete:
    During the first part of the seder, the youngest ask the 4 KUSHIOT= difficult questions, regarding the whole thing, and the man who runs the seder, answers by proceeding with the ceremony.
    THIS is fun!
    They usually stand on a chair and feel SO important!
    My brother in law has 5 yrs. Old twins who were SO proud to give the performance!
    At the end we had to hid another matza, because one of them found it and the other wanted to find it too!
    Happy Pesach, and Easter to all!
    Is Easter at the same time with Pesah this year?
    millie
    :)
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #6

    Apr 12, 2006, 11:07 PM
    Hi again Millie, I am STILL up, err. But my mother-in-law assures me that I can sleep in tomorrow, she will not let the kids disturb me! She's really great to have around!

    Thanks for mentioning the four questions. Levi, who is 4, was the youngest at seder tonight and so he got to ask the questions. He was also very proud, and stood on the chair. Actually I'm not sure what will happen tomorrow night, as it is a children's seder and we are having several children over. Maybe they can take turns or something...

    Another tradition we didn't mention was having the empty chair and table setting for Elijah. We did that tonight too, but it didn't last long as our cat Chairman Meow decided the chair was for him! So then during the seder we called him Prophet Meow haha! He sat there the whole time actually, it was quite funny to watch!

    Yes Easter is this coming Sunday, so the two are very close together this year.
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    milliec's Avatar
    milliec Posts: 262, Reputation: 55
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    #7

    Apr 12, 2006, 11:30 PM
    Right you are!
    I omitted it too!
    Millie
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    RickJ's Avatar
    RickJ Posts: 7,762, Reputation: 864
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    #8

    Apr 13, 2006, 04:10 AM
    Shalom, everyone!
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    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6055
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    #9

    Apr 13, 2006, 05:45 AM


    I'm going to relate a Passover story here and I hope no one takes offense because none is intended.

    This happened many years ago at a small family Sedar (just my parents and brother). I was still in my teens at the time. There is a point in the Sedar service where a cup of wine is filled for the Prophet Elijah and the door is opened for him to enter. As the youngest it was my job to go open the door. We lived in an apartment at the time so I went to the door and opened it. Standing there, with his finger poised to ring the doorbell was a friend of my fathers who happened to be a very dark Afro-American. I took one look at him and collapsed in hysterical laughter. Of course my family came running to see what was funny, and saw him with his finger still held up to ring the bell and a quizical look on his face. Of course they starting laughing too. After we calmed down, we, of course, invited him in to join us and explained what had struck us so funny. He got a big kick out of it too.

    Scott<>
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #10

    Apr 13, 2006, 12:22 PM
    LOL thanks for sharing this Scott! I still think it's hilarious. And thanks for mentioning that there's also a point where we open the door for Elijah. Forgot to mention that custom as well.
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    milliec's Avatar
    milliec Posts: 262, Reputation: 55
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    #11

    Apr 13, 2006, 01:16 PM
    Scott,
    I can't recall anyone ACTUALLY staring into someone's face while expecting Ellyah.
    May be he should have changed his first name later on?:)
    Millie
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    Cgirl's Avatar
    Cgirl Posts: 287, Reputation: 38
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    #12

    Apr 13, 2006, 02:18 PM
    There is so much information here on passover... good thread! Happy Easter everyone, I am excited about this Easter in my family especially because my son is just beginning to walk and we have a BIG Easter Egg hunt in my family every year. It will be fun to just see my son "attempt" to get an egg, before the other children do, although he will probably not even care about what's inside, he will just enjoy watching everyone else, and the plastic egg of course! Usually with babies, they enjoy the package more than what's inside (which is good for me because we don't let him eat very much sugar yet, with the exception of his birthday of course! ;)) I hope everyone has a great weekend and May Peace be with you!
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #13

    Apr 13, 2006, 03:16 PM
    That sounds really cute, Cgirl! Kids are what make holidays really fun, I'm discovering. Without them I don't seem to care as much about celebrating.

    Speaking of Easter candy, my children want some, even though we don't celebrate Easter. They saw some chocolate that was shaped like Shrek lol and they REALLY want that. I don't have a problem with this, but my mother-in-law is here right now, and she is an Orthodox Jew, so she is very opposed to it and has been telling the kids they can't have any candy. Err. Anyway I feel dishonest about it, but I promised the kids (when my mother-in-law wasn't around!), that we would go to the store the day after Easter and buy some sale candy, we just couldn't tell Safta (Grandma) about it! They agreed to the "secret". I feel like such a sneaky person now. :p
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    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,970, Reputation: 6055
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    #14

    Apr 13, 2006, 03:52 PM


    Quote Originally Posted by orange
    so she is very opposed to it and has been telling the kids they can't have any candy. Err. Anyways I feel dishonest about it, but I promised the kids (when my mother-in-law wasn't around!), that we would go to the store the day after Easter and buy some sale candy,
    Next December get a supply of Hanukah Gelt (chocolate coins) If you can't find some now. Save some for gentile holidays where the kids feel left out. I don't know if they have them out there, but here we have chocolate covered marshmallows and jelly rolls from a company named Joyva (http://www.joyva.com/). While the kids are attracted to the holiday themed chocolates, as long as you have some sweets for them, I think they will be happy.
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #15

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:05 PM
    Thanks Scott, I never thought of stocking up on Jewish candy and treats ahead of time and saving them. Actually it might be a good idea, as they are hard to come by in the "off seasons" around here. We usually have to order things from Calgary or Winnipeg, and it can get quite pricey. I also love chocolate hamentashen, and even though it's not Purim, I'm thinking of making a huge batch and freezing it so the kids and I can have hamentashen year round to our hearts' delight!
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    CaptainForest's Avatar
    CaptainForest Posts: 3,645, Reputation: 393
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    #16

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:06 PM
    My family is Jewish, but what we tend to do is buy chocolate and candy from the store right after Easter ends since it all goes on sale!

    Happy Pesach everyone / Happy Easter
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #17

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:08 PM
    I was told by my friend who is in religious studies at university that I should add the following holidays to this thread:

    April 8: Vesak, Buddha's Birthday
    April 30: Beltane, a pagan holiday

    And this isn't a festival, but since we're talking about April, Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Memorial Day is April 25.
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    orange's Avatar
    orange Posts: 1,364, Reputation: 197
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    #18

    Apr 13, 2006, 06:11 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainForest
    My family is Jewish, but what we tend to do is buy chocolate and candy from the store right after Easter ends since it all goes on sale!

    Happy Pesach everyone / Happy Easter
    Yup, that's what the kids and I are doing on Monday, haha. I really hope there are some chocolate Shreks and Donkeys left, because the kids are talking about those non-stop. Sigh... maybe I should cave and go buy the Shreks at full price, and then hide them until Monday, to avoid disappointment... but I would have to hide them VERY well from my mother-in-law!

    Actually considering that Levi had nightmares from seeing the Chronicles of Narnia, it might be cool if they had White Witch shaped chocolates too lol. Then he could smash and eat the White Witch!

    Happy Pesach to you as well, Captain Forest!
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    bizygurl's Avatar
    bizygurl Posts: 522, Reputation: 110
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    #19

    Apr 13, 2006, 08:30 PM
    Happy Easter to everyone... hope everyone has a well rested long weekend
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    milliec's Avatar
    milliec Posts: 262, Reputation: 55
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    #20

    Apr 13, 2006, 11:06 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Cgirl
    T and we have a BIG Easter Egg hunt in my family every year.
    Hi Cgirl!
    Can you tell me a bit more about your Waster traditions?
    I grew up in a Christian country, but can't recall any Easter Egg hunt, for example.
    Since I gather there are many different traditions, I'd like to hear about yours.
    Millie :)
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