Monday, April 9, 2012

Passover Report 2012



One of the many problems of being Jewish in America (other than that everyone asks you to explain Woody Allen movies) is the holidays.  Jewish holidays are pathetic in comparison to the Americanized Christian holidays.

Americans took a holiday celebrating the birth of a god and turned it into a gift giving festival with a fat, Coke-swigging, red-suited in a flying sleigh.  Americans took a holiday that celebrates the Resurrection and turned it into a day about plastic eggs filled with candy pooped out by a magical rabbit.
Costumes at Jewish party stores are much less interesting.
Jewish holidays, like all non-Americanized holidays, are terribly dull.  If you’ve ever been to a synagogue, you know what I mean.  We don’t have stained glass windows depicting religious scenes, or vaulted ceilings, or dead guys hanging from pieces of wood.  Jewish ceremonies are so dull, every five minutes the rabbi tells the congregation to stand up or sit down just to keep them awake.

The current Jewish holiday is Passover.  Passover celebrates freedom from slavery.  Jews celebrate the occasion with a big meal preceded by eighteen hours of ceremonies and singing.  Our family has managed to cut the ceremony part down to fifteen minutes, probably because they’ve heard me sing.

Our ceremony goes like this:

·         Light candles.

·         Talk about the ceremony part.
It sucked.

·         Youngest child asks “The Four Questions”
Who has time for four questions?  We’re hungry!  Just ask “What’s up with all this?”

·         Explain and eat all the foods on the Seder plate.
What gentiles call “appetizers.”

·         Eat dinner.

·         Kids look for Afikomen and trade it for gifts.
What gentiles call “bribery.”

·         Glance at rest of the ceremony.
And say “I’m too full to say all that.  Let’s put the kids to bed.”

There are three things I don’t get about the Passover ceremony:

What does the egg have to do with anything?
The Seder plate has foods on it that each represents the story of Passover.  The salt water represents tears.  The bitter herbs represent how bitter slavery was my family eats those quickly, so we’d make good slaves).  And so on.  But the egg just sits there.  Nobody knows why it’s there.  The egg is kind of like the last four years of Reagan’s presidency.
"Don't mind me..."
What does Elijah have to do with anything?
During the ceremony, Jews open the door to let the prophet Elijah in.  The problem is, the story of Passover happens hundreds of years before the story of Elijah.  What does he have to do with anything?  And why did he pick a successor named Elisha instead of a guy whose name wouldn’t confuse the heck out of everyone?

What about the Jewish Eskimos?
All Jewish holidays are supposed to take place after sundown.  What do they do in places where the sun doesn’t go down for months?

It's a bigger problem than you might think.

No comments: