Thursday, April 19, 2012

Pesah in Jerusalem

Final stage of making handmade matzah before baking in the wood-fired oven.

Pesah in Jerusalem

There is nothing quite like Pesah in Israel.  Aside from the ease of observance and eating, almost the entire country is on vacation for the week.  Kids are off of school for 2 ½ weeks (not sure why – certainly not helpful to parents trying to prepare) and many parents take off to be with them.  It’s actually amazing that the country still functions over the holiday!   Getting most places involves sitting in traffic for at least twice as long as usual, parks are full, cafes and restaurants (yes, most go kosher for Passover) are busy, and hotels are full with both visiting tourists and traveling Israelis.   At the same time, some museums offer free entrance, there are special kids and family activities available in many places around the country, in Jerusalem there were signs to welcome “olim la’regel” – the biblical phrase for people who came to Jerusalem for pilgrimage holidays, and there is a general feeling of festivity in the air.  My entire family was here for Pesah and we had a wonderful combination of good family time (not easy with my family who is literally scattered around the world), good food and good exploring in and out of Jerusalem.  Here are our reflections:

Dayeinu (It would have been enough for us)

If only we had to clean a small apartment instead of an entire house for Passover, dayeinu.

If only we bought Pesah products in one store (instead of many), dayeinu.

If only we found a handmade matzah factory, dayeinu.

If only we burned our hametz on a fire others had already made, dayeinu.

If only we had one Seder instead of two, dayeinu.

If only Esther’s family was together for the Seder, dayeinu.

If only we ate in restaurants, dayeinu.

If only we toured the City of David from top to bottom, dayeinu.

If only the Judean Hills we hiked through were in bloom, dayeinu.

If only everyone else picnicking there was eating matzah too, dayeinu.

If only we visited the newly remodeled Israel Museum (for free!), dayeinu.

If only we spent time with cousins and family friends, dayeinu.

If only we could be here in Jerusalem, dayeinu!

Hagalat Keilim - Cauldrons with boiling water to kasher dishes for Pesach.These are available to anyone and are  stationed throughout most neighborhoods.  

Alexander, Yonah and our niece Dee Dee before the Seder
Next year in Jerusalem for you!

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