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Jewish Fun - My Story about Passover
Birthdays and Passover
OK, I don't usually blog about religion. I'm not very religious at this point in my life. But this time of year always brings out the angst in me. I'm Jewish and was brought up in a conservative Jewish household. We went to Friday night services and high holidays but we didn't keep kosher at all. My family is cohein and was one of five or six such families in my temple. I have stories about that too - but for another time.
This quick story relates to being a kid, with a birthday during Passover. If you are Jewish, you know how "wonderful" Passover food is. For thiose of you that aren't, imagine not having any bread products at all, for a week. Even in New York, where there are a lot of Jewish people, kids go to school throughout Passover and have to bring Matzah "sandwiches" to school. It's NOT fun.
I am no fan of Matzah. It's essentially a shingle. It isn't fun to eat unless you've covered it in dark chocolate. It's fairly tasteless (though they now make them with flavors) and it's just not what you want to eat as a kid - which was sort of the point. All of this was to remind us of the hardships of the Jews who were forced to leave Egypt. Nevertheless, when your friends are eating Pizza and you can't - it's no fun.
That being said, my birthday happens to fall on April 23. In my youth, my birthday fell in the middle of Passover many, many times. As such, we couldn't buy a cake. We couldn't make a traditional cake. We had to buy the special birthday cake for Passover which consisted of matzah meal and carob.
I truly believe this is where the term "Sh%#t on a shingle" came from....
Matzah meal is no substitute for flour and yeast. Carob is not a substitute for chocolate. It's not even close. I don't know who thought it was but man, were they wrong. After being treated to the special cake for a few years, a very young version of me, maybe 10 or 11 years old, finally pleaded with my parents to forget the Passover cake. I didn't mind waiting until Passover was completed to go get a "real" cake. Anything would be better than the Passover cake nobody looked forward to eating.
Give me chumatz or give me death!!!! At least that's what I thought back then....
Just a quick snippet from my youth. For everone who reads this, have a Happy Passover and/or a Happy Easter (since I celebrate both in my house)...
And for Jews who will be reading the Hagaddah at the end of the week, can anyone explain Rabbi Jose the Galilean? We always wondered how a Hispanic Jew got to Ancient Egypt... Rabbi Jose?? Most names look right and proper for ancient Hebrew but Rabbi Jose? What's next, Rabbi Shaquille?? At least he hasn't tried that yet....