Saturday, April 7, 2012

My first seder

This is not literally my first seder; that one occurred pre-memory. This one is the first seder I've prepared. In Malta I was pretty irreligious, here in Petersburg we had Orthodox friends to visit on Passover. This year I've made matzah, charoset, potato kugel, meringue for dessert, and will soon throw the lamb into the oven. As the kids are 2 and 4 I have printed out the "30 Minute Seder". I've made sure we have horseradish, grape juice for the kids' wine glasses, and discovered celery can sub for the parsley I forgot to buy at the store. And I have an orange.

I remember in college meeting a floormate who was also Jewish (not exactly a novelty at Columbia) and she said her parents were pretty agnostic until she was old enough to start asking questions, and then they joined a synagogue and started going on Friday nights. Now that I have a 4 year old I totally understand those parents, although I am hesitant to try to seek out the only not-Orthodox congregation in the city - differentiated from the only Orthodox congregation (not too many Jews left in Russia) - and highly doubt the service would be understandable to me anyway. There's also the internal battle of "what do I want to teach my children"?

In the USA it's easy. I find a congregation I like, enroll my kids in Hebrew School and basically let someone else do the heavy lifting. The synagogue would organize the Sukkot, Hanukkah and Purim festivities and there would be friends we'd meet to plan a joint seder together. Being overseas requires a deeper involvement. Alex will ask a lot of questions tonight and I know I won't have the answers. Wish me luck!


Geri said...

Hope it went well. It is really hard to shoulder the responsibility of "answering the religious questions" from anyone (esp your kids!) when they expect that if you "are" of a certain religion, you are obviously an "expert." Those questions did prompt me to at least investigate my own Judaism and expose my children so that we would all at least have some answers.

Lynne said...

Geri, Thanks for your comment. I have a pretty good knowledge base of my Judaism, I am just very conflicted as to what I want to teach my children about it :)