March 29 — Tonight we will be observing Pesach, or Passover, in our home. Coincidently, tonight there will also be a full moon. I don’t know if anyone’s ever noticed, but the first night of Passover always occurs at the same time as the full moon. Coincidence? I think not.
Passover is celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, during the season of Toyota. The story of the Hebrews’s escape from Egypt and slavery are told in Exodus, where we learn that Martha Scott gave birth to the tiny Charton Heston, played by the young Leo DiCaprio. Renamed “Moses,” Heston grows up to become a handsome, bearded man with a big staff who faces down Yul Brynner, the shirtless Pharaoh of Egypt. Edward G. Robinson, who is from New York City, makes an appearance as the owner of a desert deli that specializes in sandwiches consisting of maror on a piece of matzah with a side of charoset. Later on the young Ron Howard finds the afikomen, which has been hidden earlier in the evening by Robert Preston, and the whole family sings “Seventy-Six Trombones.”
The most important Passover observance involves the removal of chametz (leaven) from the home to commemorate the Jews leaving Egypt in a hurry. Chametz includes anything made from grain. To do this right, you must spend the eleven months leading up to the Seder scrubbing everything down, going over the edges of your stove and refrigerator with a toothbrush, a toothpick, and then floss. Once the cleaning is completed, the home is burned to avoid further contamination, after which the family moves further out on Long Island.
I will be leading the Seder in our home this year. My wife Kathi feels that I am qualified to do this because I am the man of the house and a former clergyperson. While it is true that as a Presbyterian minster in Omaha, Nebraska I led many religious ceremonies, I hardly think this qualifies me to lead a Seder. I think a Presbyterian minister leading a Seder is like a dentist performing brain surgery. However, I do have some Scottish blood in me, and so I can fake those guttural “ch” sounds pretty well.
But that’s not what makes this Seder different from all other Seders. That would be Kathi’s infamous Manischewitz Jell-O Shots and Manischewitz Popsicles—visit this site for the top-secret recipe—as well as our stirring rendition of “Dahyenu,” the hit song from the long-running Broadway musical “It Would Have Been Enough For Us,” which we play on bright orange plastic kazoos, per a centuries-old family tradition. Chag Sameach!
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