It’s not like this year is my first Passover. In fact, I guess it’s my 35th. Well, depending on what date it fell in 1976.
I’ve always loved and enjoyed Passover Seder, but it’s finally occurring to me it’s the Thanksgiving of Judaism. But better. It’s all about the food and togetherness. The foods are special religious and cultural traditions that you often only get to enjoy once a year. And no leavening products means even more creativity and thought goes into the dishes. It’s also nice to know that hundreds of thousands of other people are enjoying almost the same exact dishes as you are around the same time. In that sense, it is like Thanksgiving. I say it’s better though because there is no football on tv and the very act of engaging in a Seder means people spend more than 11 minutes at the table wolfing down the food that took all day to prepare. I don’t mean to hate on Thanksgiving, I just think it could learn a thing or two.
And now that I have children of my own, I have these annual opportunities to experience my traditions in a new light. The Ten Plagues of Passover have really given me pause for once. For years and years they were just an excuse at the Seder table to yell out phonetic Hebrew words and violently throw droplets of wine onto my dinner plate.
But now I see the absolute genius in packaging for children the ten plagues that bested the Egyptian Pharoah’s plan to enslave the Israelites before their God-saving exodus out of Egypt. Asked without context how to make the following child-friendly, I would have recommended we just dispense with this part of the story altogether:
- River of blood
- Wild beasts
- Livestock disease
- Slaying of the first-born
But the sheer morbid and terrifying nature of these plagues has not deterred child educators and product developers around the world. So, if like me you have ever asked yourself how to make a river of blood or boils fun for kids, take note. It can be done. My personal favorite is always death of the first-born. Sad face sad face. So much fun!!
Our Aussie friends recently sent out an email to a large group of friends and family all over the world recounting an anecdote about how they had 24 hours notice at their daughter’s day care to come up with a Plagues costume for their 2 year-old. The nursery school happens to be in a Synagogue and the family have had to become quick studies in Judaism 101. Jen managed a pretty impressive costume for little Adeline and suffice to say, many of the children that day most likely turned up as a “wild beast”. My guess is there were no Rivers of Blood.