Just Married

Our First Passover (Sort Of) Together

By Simi Lichtman

  • Print
  • Share Share

Ideally, the Jewish holidays are supposed to be about deep religious symbolism, usually something to do with surviving and being saved by God. But in reality, each holiday comes with its own baggage and modern-day choices.

Pesach should be about freedom from slavery, but in truth it’s often about cleaning and cooking, unless your family is lucky enough to be going to a hotel in Florida or Israel.

Now that I’m married, the holidays have become overwhelmingly about family; the family that is our parents and siblings, the family that is Jeremy and I and even the family that we hope to one day have.

Claudio Papapietro
Simi and Jeremy are splitting Passover between her parents and his parents.

Our foray into our first Pesach together as a married couple began with a conversation about where we would spend the Sedarim, or the Seders on the first two nights. As all Jews know, the first Seder is the real focal point of the holiday, but for Orthodox Jews, the holiday extends for another seven days beyond that. The last two days are also significant, and this year there’s even a Shabbat in between the “first days” and “second days,” so Jeremy and I had to split up the holiday as evenly as we could between our parents. As any newlywed or married couple can tell you, this is not easy or fun. We tried to skirt the whole issue by suggesting that we go to a friend’s family for the first two Seders, but let’s just say that made no one happy. So we were back to square one: three sets of holiday days (the Sedarim, Shabbat and the last two days of Passover) and two sets of parents. The math didn’t look good.

On the plus side, Jeremy and I made the decision, to our relief, that we wouldn’t be in our own apartment for the entire week of Pesach. That meant no cleaning and no scouring our floors for misplaced crumbs. We would probably be help out with the cooking at our parents’ houses, but we decided it was a fair exchange for their hosting us.

What this did mean, though, was that we would spend our first true holiday together not so together. Instead, it would be with loads of siblings and parents and grandparents and even a couple of (adorable) nephews. But Pesach is a holiday of family, and while we cherish our alone time, it is exciting to spend a meaningful holiday with family —especially since we would get to miss the stress of preparing for it.

We finally decided that we would spend the first days, and therefore the Sedarim, with Jeremy’s parents. In exchange, Jeremy suggested, we would spend Shabbat and the second days with my parents. Which is where our future family comes in.

I’ve realized that this holiday is no longer just about me and Jeremy, or even me and Jeremy and our families. As I anticipate the coming holiday, I also am wondering about the future. In my mind, I’m planning how we will celebrate the holiday when we have our own kids one day. How will Jeremy and I run our Seder? How will we involve our children and make them look forward to the Seder?

I’m enjoying the present with Jeremy, and looking forward to this holiday with family. It’s a difficult thing, to approach such a stressful holiday with a mindset of the intended message of it all. But by focusing on who I’ll be with, I find I’m able to see a glimmer of something meaningful amid the hubbub.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: newlyweds, families, Seder, Passover, Jewish

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • Step into the Iron Dome with Tuvia Tenenbom.
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.