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Friday, May 22, 2015

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Passover cleaning, Part 2

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Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes/ Out with the chametz, no pasta, no knishes/ Fish that’s gefilted, horseradish that stings/ These are a few of our Passover things. [http://bit.ly/passclean8]

If Passover cleaning isn’t one of your favourite things, you’re not alone. But as the days count down to Passover, take a break. Commiserate with coreligionists. And meet some who actually look forward to the annual ordeal.

Debra Nussbaum Cohen is not in that camp. It’s the cleaning competitiveness that gets to her. As when her friends kvetch, “‘Oh, Sammy brought chametz into the living room after I turned it upside down to clean it for Pesach (sigh),” or “I told Maddie to stay out of the closet. I already cleaned but she got in there (sigh).” Nussbaum says it’s time for women to unshackle themselves from “Brillo bondage.” [http://bit.ly/passclean16]

Elana Sztokman is a sister in arms. “I think we women should stop trying to seek approval, be it from other women, from our mothers, from our neighbours, or from men… I would rather spend some imperfect time with imperfect friends and family making imperfect art and music at an imperfectly set table, where we can share our flaws and our real strengths, and laugh and smile our way through this wonderful holiday.” [http://bit.ly/passclean17]

The late Jerusalem Post humorist Sam Orbaum set his sights on the annual cleaning ritual – and his wife’s rush to chuck out the non-kosher for Passover food, including a jar of date spread. “Whoa there. That’s the one commandment I do observe religiously: thou shalt not throw away perfectly good food. We have an understanding in my home: the kids get first dibs. What they leave over, we offer the cat, what the cat doesn’t want is my supper. So that’s why, the other night, we all sat down to a delicious meal of honeyed date-spread patties with marshmallow topping (left over from Lag b’Omer) on a bed of lemon wafers (Purim). When I asked the kids what they’d like for dessert, they begged for broccoli.” [http://bit.ly/passclean18]

In “The Joys (?) of Passover Cleaning,” Emuna Braverman utters some very controversial words: “I’m beginning to feel like an endangered species, because I like Passover. It’s actually my favourite holiday.” This fact dawned on her after she attended one of those Passover getaways where everything is done for you. “And I learned an important lesson. Studying the ideas underlying Passover was not the true preparation… It was the physical effort that led to the emotional and intellectual preparation. I felt less prepared when I didn’t take out my special dishes, when I didn’t clean my children’s bedrooms… And I felt more alone. That crucial link to other Jewish women was not being forged… So, much as I would like a vacation, as tempting as some events sound, I’ve returned to what I enjoy. I can’t wait to start cleaning.” [http://bit.ly/passclean9]

When the plagues strike/ When the lice bite/ When we’re feeling sad/ We simply remember our Passover things/ And then we don’t feel so bad.

Have a Chag Kasher v’Samayach – a kosher and happy holiday.


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