Passover Seder at the Moskowitz House
Thank you for asking, @MissBicks!
- •So, every year, we all converge at my parents' house for Passover, in Santa Rosa, up in Sonoma County, north of San Francisco.
- •This year there will be 13 people present.My parents, Ouisue (pronounced "Weezy,") and Larry, my brother @jgmosko, his girlfriend Jen (this year will be her first Passover ever), @evan, and me. Also present are Evan's parents, Kathy and Alan (they come to SF from Milwaukee for 2 weeks every spring), as well as the Novacks (not to be confused with Novaks)--Dana, Gary, Rebecca, and Mani. This year my parents also invited Maya, a British law student who interned at my dad's law firm this year.
- •I have been a professional chef for almost a decade now, but every year my mother insists on cooking almost everything and suggests I make "a nice salad."Lately I have been going rogue and just showing up with food to contribute. My specialty is salted matzo crack, AKA caramel and chocolate covered matzo, topped with sea salt.
- •We start with Manischewitz-Vodka Breezes (see my previous list) and cheese with matzo crackers.Cocktail hour helps everyone relax and get ready to celebrate freedom.
- •My dad leads the Seder.This is a special and loaded thing. For decades, my grandfather Mel (we called him Panta) led the most special Seder. When he died and my dad took over, it was a big deal for everybody. My dad's Seders are one part Panta, one part Larry, and 100% great.
- •We use very old Maxwell House Haggadahs, which have antiquated male pronouns for God and the Israelites. We love them because they used to belong to my grandparents and are now our tradition, but we have a fun way to modernize the ceremony.We play a drinking game in which you must remember to change wording like, "And then He said unto the men, 'I am the King of the Universe'" to "And then God said unto the people, 'I am the Ruler of the Universe.'" If you fail to do this, the group will yell, "DRINK!" And you must.
- •We eat boiled potatoes with salt water instead of the usual parsley with salt water.But parsley is prettier, so that's what goes on the Seder plate.
- •We open the door to let Elijah in.@evan and I sneak outside for a moment alone to look at the sky.
- •Every year, my parents' friend Gary tries to pass around an article he found on the Internet for everyone to discuss during dinner.Usually about Torah or the Middle East.
- •My mother outdoes herself.Brisket, Chicken Marbella, matzo kugel, tzimmes, and cucumber salad.
- •Panta hid the afikomen in his shirt and then dared us to try to steal it.Larry hides it behind his chair and the adult children scheme to steal it, and then negotiate with my parents on the cost of its safe return.
- •After the meal, we have coffee, tea, matzo crack, and macaroons.We sing the songs in the back of the Haggadah, and marvel at my dad's ability to get through all of "Chad Gad Ya" in Hebrew.
- •Sometime around 11, it ends.Dayenu.