How was your Passover? Things back to normal? Pots and dishes safely tucked back in their hiding places? Have you finished all of your vacation laundry and put your suitcases away? By the time you read this, your schedule should be back to normal. Work, gym, cooking, cleaning, whatever it is that you do, you are back to doing. Those few pounds that you might’ve put on have already faded away. I think there is a reason why we have this holiday. It isn’t just to remind us of our ancestors leaving Egypt, to retell the story surrounded by family and unbroken shmurah matzah, I believe it is to remind us that, at least once a year, every house needs a really good cleaning. I can actually hear my sinks singing when I pour the boiling water over them or perhaps I am just hallucinating and need a good psychiatrist (which I probably need anyway).
For those of us who were not away for the holiday, we got to experience lots of Jews everywhere. Literally everywhere. It seems that if you are home for the holiday, going to the supermarket becomes an outing. There they are: mother, father and six or seven children in matching outfits all at ShopRite looking for treats to buy. Apparently the kids think they are at an amusement parks. They are pushing each other in the carts, trying to avoid running into other patrons. So fun and entertaining. For those of us who are at ShopRite to shop, it adds insult to injury when you aren’t at a hotel for the holiday and the supermarket has run out of half of the things on your list. But that is another story…
The one activity we did as a family was go to a Mets game. Yes, I have yet to discuss my beloved team. As I have learned in years past, we start out hopeful and hope the season ends victoriously. Since there is much superstition involved in sports, we won’t discuss how they are doing, we will just discuss the game at hand. So we pile into the smaller car for reasons that are still unbeknownst to me and I get to sit in the middle of the back seat so my almost grown children will not fight. That’s right, the fattest member of the family is sitting in the middle seat of the Nissan. It did not prevent the kids from fighting, but it did allow me to be used as a human pillow. Good times.
Upon arriving at Citi Field, we are all excited to get there two hours early so we can see batting practice (yawn) and get autographs (never gonna happen). Mom has the two bags of kosher for Passover food and no one offers to carry them, so they can go through the express line. This helps me sneak in my lemonade that is in a water bottle because I get to tell the security man how my family has deserted me. (And no, there was no alcohol in the water bottle. The kosher for Passover vodka just isn’t the same.)
Are you curious to know what it looked like when all of the Jews left Egypt? Go to a Mets game during chol hamoed. Thousands of them, black hats, baseball hats, knitted kippot, velvet kippot…they were all there. Their wives were noticeably absent, probably out partying with the girls or in the kitchen making bagels out of sand. In any event, if you are interested in discovering new Passover snack foods, this was the place to be. These folks are leaving the boxes all over the place. Lieber’s Yum Yums anyone? Are they yummy? Didn’t get to taste them, but I will put them on my list of things to buy next year. Matzah, macaroons and mehadrin yogurt, oh my. Do any of these folks actually like baseball? Probably not, but it was an activity.
The good news is that finding a maariv minyan was a breeze. Years ago, I recall being at Sesame Place with husband #1 and the boys. They were determined to find a minyan, even though the boys were all under the age of eight, so any guy that resembled someone who might’ve been Jewish got a nod and a, “Maariv at the Elmo coaster, pass it on.” We didn’t have that problem at the game. Over 50 men were at the minyan by section 519 and there was a second minyan after that. But the best news of all? The Mets won, which was why my family was there in the first place.
And as another holiday has come to an end, let us reflect on the memories that were made, or just start planning our menus for the next holiday…whatever works.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow
Banji Ganchrow had a wonderful holiday and limited her negativity to a minimum.