As sunset heralds the beginning of Passover, I can’t help but remember seders of days gone by. I always found the whole story a little upsetting, blood on doors, slaves, bitter herbs. Then again, it’s hard to compete with a crown of thorns, or a crucifixion. The ancient stories are all hard to digest. Tonight, I think of modern happy seder times.
One of my first seders was at Andy & Maralee’s, Seacliff, SF, 1982. I don’t remember ever feeling a more welcoming gathering of friends and new friends who would stay in our lives for decades. In later years we held our own seder on Lafayette Park in SF, when Erik & Laura’s baby Eliott looked for his first afikoman at our home. Doug & Lydia hosted us for the most lavish of seders in Pacific Heights, heart and family again were the center of the night. Before and since, we’ve had family seders with the Levine’s and Birdie, too. The only time in my life I’ve ever gotten up in the middle of the night to eat anything, was mom-in-law Betsey’s leftover “brisket”. When our own afikoman-finder Ben was born, we had lots of seders in Northampton and at R&R’s in New York. We love Uncle Robert’s matzoh ball soup, but Ben has always preferred his uncle’s even more light and airy dayanu dance. For a true shiksa, seders conjure up a gathering of loving, welcoming family and friends. Now I make Betsey’s “brisket” and she approves.