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geekima



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Join date : 2013-03-09

PostSubject: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 2:06 pm

What are your plans? Neutral

We're going to a community Seder for the first one, then to our Rabbi's house for the second. It's a big change for us since we've lived in communities before where we couldn't be invited and usually ended up hosting our non-Jewish friends. I've always enjoyed the wonderful mixture of people at our Seders and some of the conversations that come up, but it will be great to celebrate the holiday with our community at last.

Beyond that, we're knee-deep in cleaning and plan on turning over the kitchen right before the Shabbos before Pesach. I've ordered food and matzah and have my cookbooks dusted off and ready to go. The kids have made some adorable projects in school and are excited.

What are your plans to make it special this year?
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:17 pm

I'll be going to a community Seder for the first night also; I still don't have definite plans for the second.

I'm going to clean my house next week. It's small, so I think I'll make it on time. This is going to be my first chametz-free Passover and I'm super excited about it!
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:18 pm

Way to go, Sarit! As everyone always says, "Remember, dust is not chametz and your family is not the korban pesach!" Wink and Smile
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Sarit

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:21 pm

Of course! Wink and Smile Thumps Up
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 3:56 pm

I won't be doing anything because 1. I'm not jewish and 2. there is no jewish community over here. So I actually can't join in any seder or anything.
But I will be reading the story of Exodus on the first night, from my beloved word-for-word translation of the Tenach <3
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:08 pm

You don't have to be Jewish to throw your own Seder. I'm still not Jewish and been doing it for years. :) The only catch is that you cannot, under some interpretations of halakhah, host Jews at your Seder.

In past years, we followed the haggadah (you can find many online, even with different focuses, depending on how elaborate you want to be or what part of the Exodus story speaks to you), cooked traditional foods, and did it ourselves. It did help that dh grew up attending Seders every year, but even without that experience, there is a lot online about how to do it.

For us, there was something special about hosting people and having a big meal. I liked that we often had people at our table who were from a diverse group of faiths, many who had never been to a Seder or heard the Exodus story, but came to celebrate with us. To me, it kind of made the mitzvah of telling people about the Exodus meaningful in a way that telling people who had heard it every year might not have been. Last year, we invited a friend who is Persian and Muslim and we had the most interesting conversations about the similarities between our faiths. I like to think Avraham would have smiled.

I think, doing whatever you can that makes the holiday special for you is the key. For us, Pesach was one of those times we felt cut off from our Jewish community due to our halakhic status, so it was a time to reach out to our non-Jewish friends.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:39 pm

But..most people over here are not only non-jewish, but also kinda anti-jewish. I already get some weird looks for not eating pork in this pork-loving country. I just tell them I'm allergic... which is not altogether a lie because I'm slightly histamin intolerant and pork is full of histamins. And antibiotics. And unhealthy altogether.

Just to say that an invitation to a seder would not really be appreciated even by close friends, and I would also have to disclose to them my interest in judaism, which I would rather not do because they really wouldn't get it and think me crazy for having a weak spot for the religion of the guys that oppress palestines and thank G-d they're not women and...well you get it. (I hope I don't upset you writing this. It is just that most people are very secular and anti-theist here, or christian, but in any case not jewish and not knowing anything of judaism. And the Israel vs. Palestina thing is the only thing they know and the media do not exactly reflect the complexity of this conflict in the way the report about it)
When my now ex-boyfriend came to visit me, who has a jewish name (and is actually of jewish ancestry), I was asked about this by a friend, who told me bluntly 'over here, we don't like jews'. And she is otherwise the nicest person you can imagine. She said it quite matter of factly, not even in a hetful way, just like she was stating a generally known truth. Fact is people just don't have an idea what they're talking about.
I could think of one and two that would like such an invitation but I'm not really sure about and...well, no. Not ready to get out of the closet Razz Maybe when I'll have things sorted out for myself, and might even be in a conversion process or so, if this will ever happen.

Sorry, this is not very mcu about Pesach. I'll stop the off-topic here :)
Just to sau throwing my own seder isn't really within my possibilities. And one can't even buy matzah here.
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:56 pm

Big, big hugs, Salvia!

I have heard about the rise of anti-semitism in Europe and, in particular France. You definitely need to do what will keep you safe. I know of one other conversion candidate, from an Orthodox forum, who lives in Paris. He has a very rough time of it and has had to go through a lot.

If you think about it...this isn't that much off-topic. We all have our own kind of captivity and yearn for our own personal Exodus from it. I would think that your experiences would make that reading of Exodus that much more meaningful for you.

I will think of you during our Seder and hope that one day you'll be able to openly have one of your own without having to fear what your friends and neighbors would think.
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:16 pm

Thank you Geekima, for your nice words.

And also thank you for reminding me of something I learned when I was 12 or so at school: that the Exodus story asks us to think about captivity and liberation in general, and about what we want to be liberated from and what captivates us.

I remember we had to write the word 'slave house' in our Religion class notebook and just jot down all kinds of associations. And then we were encouraged to think of liberation and discuss. I remember enjoying that class because I felt really implicated and it was very lively. Might also be a thinking exercise for Pesach :)

But....I'm doing fine really. I just know what NOT to talk about...which is just a bit difficult because at the moment there is a lot of thinking about judaism going on in my mind...

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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:07 am

You can make your own custom haggadah at:
Haggadot.com

Also, Chabad has a simple haggadah online:
http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/661624/jewish/English-Haggadah.htm

Salvia: The text of a seder in a haggadah is not just the story of the Exodus from the Torah. It involves many customs in the way that it is told ("given over" as Daniel Eliezer would say) which gives it special meaning. A key aspect is that the story is told in the first person: "I went out of Egypt."

A seder was my very first Jewish experience, several years before the idea of conversion would even cross my mind and decades before I would finally officially convert. I still believe it is the most essential holiday of Judaism. Any convert must come to deeply understand the meaning of Passover to understand what it is to be a Jew.

We are going to a friend's home for the first night seder and are hosting a second night seder at our own home. We will have what I consider to be a "tiny" seder: only 9 people total which is less than an egalitarian minyan. Because of some family difficulties we aren't in shape to host a really big seder anyway. Also, I think we have just 9 places of our Passover meat fancy china which was a hand-me-down and which I've enlarged by buying an additional set of 12 plates with a similar gold rim, although without the pretty flowers.
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Pesach: Stanger or Convert Love or Pity... How were We Strangers in Egypt   Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:46 am

At my Torah class last night we spoke of the "ger" or convert in various passages. The Rabbi went on to speak of how we are to love our fellow Jew. He then read several commentaries that spoke of how to love the ger, or convert.

It was beautifully stated how we should have a "special" love for the ger since they not only take on all of the responsibilities of being a Jew, but all of the criticism, oppression and hatred as well.

That our love should be "above and beyond" that of our fellow Jew since the convert takes on a responsibility that is "above and beyond".

I enjoyed the class very much.

If you would like to watch it, here is a link via Torahanytime.com

http://www.torahanytime.com/scripts/media.php?file=media/Rabbi/Dovid_Schwartz/2013-03-13/Pesach:_Stanger_or_Convert_Love_or_Pity..._How_were_We_Strangers_in_Egypt/Rabbi__Dovid_Schwartz__Pesach:_Stanger_or_Convert_Love_or_Pity..._How_were_We_Strangers_in_Egypt__2013-03-13.wmv



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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Mar 14, 2013 1:33 pm

Jews are also supposed to extend special consideration for gerim as they are orphans or widows because gerim usually don't have the same kind of family support system, at least not for observance, that born Jews do.

For me, Pesach always brings to mind my own conversion journey. I identify most with the Jews as they leave Egypt, yet aren't in the promised land. There is that frustrating, painful, discouraging in-between state that they live in while in the dessert, particularly between leaving Egypt and the revelation at Sinai. They have left behind a life that, while not perfect for them, was familiar. They knew what to expect there, even if those expectations were to be slaves. They aren't yet in the promised land and at many places, they seem unsure if they'll ever make it there or what is expected of them now. They wander. They learn. They make mistakes. They never know when their journey will end or if it will.

For me, this is the reality of living in a state in-between gentile and Jew, as I have for years. I've studied for years and I've been observant for years, but I am not a Jew yet and I won't be for probably about another year. Yet...I also have no way of knowing how long. I long for my own promised land even as I sometimes miss the predictability of life as a gentile. Then I had so much more control over my own life, even if I was a slave to a secular life.

I have to remember what set me on this path to begin with, the great moments when I first fell in love with Judaism, similar to how the Jews wandering in the dessert had to remember the plagues of Egypt and the splitting of the sea of reeds to help them remember why they left Egypt to wander. I also have to prepare for my new life just as they had to study and learn to be ready to inhabit the land even as they didn't know if or when that would be.

One day, I'll be done with my conversion and I'm sure that there will be other things in my life that remind me of the story of Exodus, but for now, this is what comes to mind.
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:23 pm

That is a great post Geekima!

A very touching journey that will no doubt see many fruits.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:28 pm

For those of you who want new and interesting ideas to enhance your seder, there is a free 74 page downloadable Word document "Passover Supplement 2013" in a link in the white box at the top of this webpage: http://www.haggadahsrus.com/
It is written by Noam Zion, author of two wonderful haggadot: "A Different Night" and "A Night to Remember". The latter was recently co-written with his son Mishael who is a modern Orthodox rabbi. It is a cool contemporary haggadah with lots of extra readings from all kinds of sources both religious and secular.

A couple of years ago, I decided that we could use a change from the haggadah we've used for over 20 years, so I bought 16 of "A Night to Remember", inspired by having met Noam Zion at a Limmud Chicago and having seen the whole haggadah online:
http://hosting.richpaper.com/FullServiceHtml/JoeBuchwaldGelles/1003/
{Note that the online line "book" reads like a Hebrew book, so you turn pages from right to left.} It has all of the traditional text in Hebrew with quite a lot of the important sections transliterated. There is also an all Hebrew version for Israelis (Noam made Aliyah from the US with his family, so Mishael was raised in Israel.) and a Spanish version too. Salvia, this would be another good resource for you to look through and get a feel for not just the text, but also the ideas behind the words and rituals and what they mean to different people. My daughter didn't like the haggadah because she felt it was too busy and distracting. She has a point, and certainly it has way too much material to be used in a single seder. I think it needs to be used with a person to lead the seder who has looked through the haggadah and has a very definite plan of what parts to use.

I'm not sure which haggadah we will use this year. My daughter will be home from Brandeis which of course has a break for Passover. In fact, Brandeis completely closes the dorms for the break. Obviously, it would be impossible to maintain kashrut during Pesach for the unique kosher + non-kosher dining hall. We're a little too overwhelmed with other family issues to create a well-planned out distinctive seder this year, so maybe we're better off with our old Silverman haggadot. However, I am planning to use one idea from Noam Zion's 2013 supplement: a story about being a work camp slave in a salt mine that we can read and then use some chunks of Himalayan pink rock salt with a grater that someone gave us as a fun "gourmet" gift for each person to make a small bowl of salt water for dipping.
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geekima



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:24 pm

I'll try to find out which haggadahs we use. I think the kids use the illustrated artscroll one and then we have another for the adults, which is Hebrew on one side with an English translation on the other. It's short on commentary and I'm planning on getting one with more commentary for study and use, but the ones that are to the point are great for the actual Seder, for the same reason Debbie's daughter likes the pared down version.

I really like the idea of the rock salt. My in-laws really like to have a lot of visual aids for their Seders as they often have children and are active in kiruv. My mother-in-law collects toys all year for the plagues and even has things rigged to drop from the ceiling. I haven't been to one of their Seders, but I've heard it is quite the experience and really helps to keep little ones engaged. Very Happy
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:01 pm

Pesach is over....and the forul has got into hibernation?

Although I wrote I wouldn't do anything about Pesach, and I didn't, the holiday has become special in way, anyway. Cause this year's Pesach has given me the last little push to change a few bad habits I had and...well actually I just quitted smoking. But I feel so happy because I've been a bad bad evil smoker for years and I stopped!
Not exactly for Pesach.
I just woke up on the Friday morning in the week of Pesach with the mother of all tummybugs, I had a fever and an enormous ache in my belly and I couldn'ty get up. And I've been ill until the end of Pesach, basically...I started to feel a bit better on monday. And because I was too ill for it, I hadn"'t smoked for a few days. And then I got back into social life etc. and started smoking again, and saw other people smoking, and thought every time what a disgusting habit it actually is...thoughts that normally don't cross my mind so often.
And so, last Friday evening, when I was out of cigarettes, I decided not to buy new ones. And to quit. And I had decided to quit many times before, only to fall back in a few days. But tomorrow evening I will be celebrating the first totally cigarette-free week in years!!! Wave
I am so happy!! The first few days were quite difficult, I felt like a warrior giving combat to an evul spirit in my head, trying to seduce me every time with messages like 'just one isn't too bad' and 'but you will enjoy your coffee better' 'but go and have a smoke with your friend, you can chat up in the meantime' etc. I have decided that this nicotine voice isn't my brain but a foreign enemy and that I'm not going to bend to it. And... I succeeded Very Happy Instead of smoking, I no take some 'me-time' at work or at home with a mug of herbal tea, chai or other nice spicey hot brews. It gives the same relaxation and it isn't bad for you, or addictive :)
What has this to do with Pesach? For me a lot. I was inspired for my move by an event that happened to me during the holiday, and...I really feel like I'm freed from an oppressor. Very much so. Just being able NOT TO SMOKE and be a healthy person...YEAH! I'm making more changes to my lifestyle these days, I'm now working on battling anxiety, my second great enemy after nicotine. I try to make it surrender with daily meditation. We'll see.

I hope I am not offtopic, but...this really makes me feel so happy and relieved and...I don't know how this actually happened that I suddenly found the strength, I just thank G-d for it cause that is, in the end, the cause of all good happening to us :)
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Salvia



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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Apr 11, 2013 5:49 pm

*small voice*
Am I saying stupid things?
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: Pesach Time!   Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:24 pm

Saying stupid things??

By all means, NO!

I am very happy for you and glad you found a way to relate Pesach to quitting smoking! I can only hope and pray that you stay on the path.

You seem to have found some alternate ways of dealing with the urge to smoke. That's great!

Remember, although nicotine and all of the unhealthy additives in cigarettes can be addicting, once you come out of that withdrawal feeling of want, it is all a mind game.

Just remember you are in control!

You can do it, you can do it, you can do it!

Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot. Even yourself.

Congratulations! You've just taken a very big step to improving the rest of your life. As you "conquer" these battles one at a time, you'll build the confidence to know you have the will power to continue.

So like Pesach, even though you have "freedom" we must remind ourselves of what that freedom is and know there are many obstacles to maintain it.
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