Sophie was trying not to fall asleep, last night, when she remembered she had something else to complain about: “Why don’t we do Passover? I wanna have Passover!” Crocodile tears welled up in her eyes. Then she added, “But without the crackers. I don’t like those crackers.”
It turns out one of the Jewish families at her preschool had brought in matzoh for everyone at snack-time.
I told her why the matzoh is important — but to a kid who has never made bread, how can she understand the need to leave in a hurry, without letting the bread rise? I told her that Passover is a reeeeeaaaaaallly long meal, and almost all the foods are symbolic, and so she said, “What else?” So I had to think about how to translate “bitter herbs” into 3-year-old-ese.
Then she said, “What else?” That girl likes to get me talking, which is a dangerous habit for the daughter of a professor. I tried to remember whether afikomen is the sweet-apple thing or the hidden half-matzoh or what, and ended up telling her about both. She was drifiting off to sleep while I sang her Dayenu.
She is one-eighth Jewish, so I suppose I should encourage this more, but that was the sum of our Passover celebration. Maybe next year I’ll get it together to have a seder. Or I’ll get lucky and find some Jewish friends in the neighborhood. I am used to living in places that are at least one-third Jewish (if you think such places don’t exist, you just don’t know Newton, Massachusetts or New Haven, Connecticut), and this lack of real Jews around is yet another thing that I find disorienting about Southern California.