The Shmooze

How Do You Keep, and Break, Passover?

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share

In the past few years, I’ve struggled to reconcile being a non-believer with my love of Jewish culture and traditions. So I’ve wavered back and forth on keeping Passover and fasting on Yom Kippur, the two most intrinsic rituals of self-deprivation for the sake of enlightenment on the Jewish calendar. This year, after a few years of nonobservance after the first two days, I went back to trying a sort of Passover lite — I stayed away from bread, pasta and cereal for the full eight days, with the exception of one emergency thin-crust pizza lapse. Basically, I stayed away from leavening but I didn’t obsessively check the ingredients or the label on packaged food. I really enjoyed keeping the holiday in a less-than stringent way. It led me to be more conscious of how I eat and try new additions to my diet (note to self: I am a total bread addict). On a spiritual and cultural level, this loose observance kept the meaning of the holiday fresh in my mind without making me feel as though I were engaging in the holier-than-thou “corn syrup is evil” one-upmanship contests I remember from my time at a Jewish day school.

The best part of observing this way is yet to come. Because keeping Passover means indulging in the most delightful ritual of all — the post-Pesach carb binge. Growing up on the Upper West Side, I always joined my family in celebrating one way: a trip to H&H bagels for a dozen hot bagels, the first of which we would break off and share, followed by a big Italian dinner. Mmm. When I lived in Boston, my favored practice was to head to Cambridge’s beloved Pinocchio’s pizza, home of the tastiest Sicilian slices in the world. My roommate Sarah and I said the motzi over a fresh mozzarella and tomato slice. I’m not sure what my plans are this year, but the packaged challah rolls I usually keep in the house are tempting me so much right now (bread addiction again) that they may be reward enough.

It’s a Jewish tradition to invent your own mini-traditions for the holidays. So Forward readers, how did you observe Passover this year — super strictly, not-so-strictly or in between? And most importantly, do you and your family have a special tradition for that first bite of leavened goodness? Please share in the comments.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: bread, carbs, jewish, observe, passover, peshach, pizza

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!
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • 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.
  • 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.