In addition to my parents and my brother, the other Seder attendants were my grandparents (on my mom's side), my Uncle (again on my mom's side), my godmother and her husband. While we waited for everyone to arrive we had appetizers.
Here we have olives, matzoh, radishes (fresh picked from the garden), chicken liver pate, and sweet pickled peppers. The peppers were pretty awesome, but I limited myself to only two.
Once everyone had finally arrived it was time to start the Seder. If you've never been to a Seder, the word Seder actually means order. Which pretty much means there a bunch of things that all need to be done in a specific order, all of which tend to symbolize something. For a start we have the Seder plate itself.
To start in the upper left we have an egg, which symbolizes spring or the rebirth of life. Then there is the lamb shank. The symbolizes that during the 10th plague the Jews put lamb's blood on their door posts. This way the angel of death knew to pass over the houses of the Jews and only murder the 1st born in non-Israelite home. (Hence, where the name Passover comes from.) Next is parsley, which again is another symbol of spring. The parsley is actually used during the Seder by dipping it into salt water, which symbolizes the tears of the Israelites. Next is horseradish. The last thing on the plate is horseradish as well. One it just ground, the other is fresh. The horseradish is there to symbolize the bitterness of slavery. Finally we have charoset. The one of the plate is charoset made from dates. This is supposed to symbolize the mortar of the bricks the Israelites were forced to make.
The Seder itself seemed to go by rather quickly. My brother even said, "This used to feel A LOT longer when I was little." And guess that means we're growing up, and have a little more patience than we used to. Even so, we still had some time to snap a few pictures.
As I said we quickly made it to the part where eating was required. Here's a shot post hillel sandwich of my plate.
There's horseradish and apple and date charoset. As you can see I'm a much bigger fan of the apple charoset than the date. The hillel sandwich (matzoh and horseradish) is the last officially event before the actually meal! So where we have...
Matzoh ball soup,which I actually got to help make. At least I got to shape the matzoh balls.
My main plate with Brisket (above that is a tomato sauce for the brisket), potatoes, grapefruit and avocado salad, asparagus, and of course more charoset.
And for dessert?
Coffee with chocolate toffee matzoh
Almond cake with whipped cream and berries.
After we finished eating me and my brother set off in search of the afikomen or the dessert matzoh. Think of it as Passover's version of an Easter egg hunt. My brother though he knew where it was but I of course was successful!
One of the last things to do (besides of course drink your fourth glass of wine) is open the door for Elijah. Jewish tradition says that if Elijah comes at Passover that means the Messiah will be coming in the next year. So we put out a glass of wine, so he feels welcome. Unfortunately, no Elijah this year. So I guess we'll have to wait till at least next year for the Messiah.
A more recent tradition is to also leave out a cup for Miriam, Moses' sister. Think of it as a feminist movement. It's aim is to honor and highlight the contributions of women to Jewish culture, past and present.
Here then are Miriam's and Elijah's cup. Can you figure out which is which?
It's funny because Passover isn't nearly exciting as Hanukkah, since there aren't any presents. Or as Halloween, since there isn't any candy. I mean Passover actually limits the amount of dessert you can eat. But even so, Passover it by far my favorite holiday. And I'm really glad I had the chance to be back in California for it with my family. (Even if it was only for 22 hours!)