Hi, Banker--Happy Easter to you and your family (I laughed aloud over your description of your little one waving back at the smiley face! As to your question of how I get them onto my computer screen, when I hit the buttom to respond to a message, about 15 of those smiley-type faces come up on the right side of the screen--so I can just "hit" which one I want to appear, whenever I decide to put one in. There MUST be a way you can get them onto your screen. Perhaps the moderator can help.)
Okay, You asked on "Lisa's Surgery" thread about Passover, etc. Now...reminding you again that I am of the Reformed--least religious or traditional--sect of Judaism...here are a few things that I think
I can explain without totally screwing up the facts!!!
First of all, Judaism is the "religion of the Israelites of the Bible and the Jews today, based on the teachings of the Torah (Jewish law and wisdom), as found in the first five books of the bible (Old Testament)." It's the belief in one God, with Abraham regarded as its founder, and Moses as the deliverer of the laws of God to the Israelites. That's the most basic definition, as I know it.
Passover, which started early in the week and ends, I think, tomorrow, is a festival commemorating the Exodus--the escape--of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, with Moses then leading them to the Promised Land. (..this was the time when the Red Sea parted and the ten plagues came down on Egypt.) ..And who can ever forget those scenes in that old biblical movie--pretty impressive to a young kid!!!)
"Matzos" are the unleavened bread (which resemble large crackers) that are eaten during this week of "no flour" products. The reason? According to biblical history, as the Jews were preparing to flee from Egypt, God hurried them along, telling them to eat this flat, easy-to-make unleavened bread, rather than delaying their departure, waiting around for their flour loaves to rise. (Matzos taste a bit like "cream crackers". There are "plain" and "egg"--which I much prefer with its creamier, moister taste. (Incidentally, Banker, I do believe that plain matzos make a good low-calorie snack--but do they count as Carbs???)
At the Passover Seder, which is a big gathering of family and friends, plates with foods symbolic of the flight from Egypt are passed around. "Bitter herbs" to remind Jews of the hard times, "honey cakes" to recall the good times, etc. Although my parents were very Reformed, my aunts and uncles were more Orthodox--and every year they would hold this huge Seder, with non-stop food being brought out from the kitchen. What always stuck out in my mind was the asking of the "Four Questions"--because this was the only opportunity a kid had of tasting wine! After each question was asked (by the youngest person there), like "Why is this night different from all other nights?"--you would be served a glass of wine. ("Sips" for the kiddies!)
So, of course, all children couldn't WAIT for this part of the Seder. My uncle, though, conducted the entire Seder readings soooo slowly...and I'd practically be asleep by the time he got to the "questions."!!!
After dinner, we played the traditional game of "Hide the Matzo"--where an adult would tell us that somewhere in the apt, was a special, hidden Matzo (the "Afikomin")--and finding it would bring a prize. This was always the second best part of the Seder!!!
The Passover Seder was always a wonderful holiday, where my many relatives got together--it was a real family time. And, up until my mother died, I followed some of the "rules--i.e., not eating bread, etc. But, my Mom was the last of a nine-child family. And when she died...and there were no longer any family members left other than my two sisters and I and our cousin...the holiday just seemed too sad a symbol of what had been such a large, close family...no longer here. So--other than our tradtional sharing of gefilte fish with horseradish, and a few boxes of matzo....we sort of just let the holiday slip by. No one has the heart to have such a tiny gathering. (And, our other sister lives in Florida.) But we sure do have some wonderful memories!
Like you, Banker, I am fascinated by other religions and other cultures. When I began reading and collecting antique mountain climbing books, I learned so much about the Sherpa culture..about Buddhism..the Nepalese, the Tibetans...and how they visualize God. And their strong spiritual connection with the mts. of the Himalaya. (The ancient Tibetan monastery, located right before you reach the southern side of Mt. Everest, conducts a "puja" for every single climbing expedition going up the mountain. A puja is a prayer ceremony to the spirits of the mt. to keep the climbers safe...and no expedition would dream of climbing Everest without one!
By the way--you said you loved "Fiddler on the Roof"--now THAT would be a very good depiction of a very Orthodox Jewish family (albeit from an earlier century!!!)
In many ways, so many different religions are so similar. (We believe in Christ as a beautiful person of his time, but we not worship him as our Savior.) Oddly enough, Jesus was at a "Passover" dinner--"the Last Supper" depicted in that famous painting. I never knew that until recently!
In my family, we celebrated just about every holiday that appeared on the calendar--Jewish or Christian. I had Christmas stockings hanging, often on the same week I'd get my Channukah gifts!! (Greedy, wasn't I?!)
Okay...I'll stop here and if you have any more questions....just ask away!! And...vice versa! Are any of the foods you eat at your Easter lunch/dinner symbolic in any way, like our Seders? Are there any special traditions at the meal? My ex-husband, Brian, was not Jewish--but he was so unreligious a Christian--that celebrating Easter appeared to be just a time to see how many roast lambs we could stuff down at one sitting!! (Hmmmm...based on my abyssmal record of religious observance, I do not think I'm on the roster to get into Heaven,..gee...I'm sure gonna miss you guys!! LOLOL!!
Last note on religious observance...no, I don't formally follow my religion...but I do believe that there's GOT to someone better than US!! :-) So, my "religion" is trying to be a good and a kind person, who is there for those who need help. That
should keep me busy for the rest of my life!
(And, this way, I can read about and absorb the best of ALL the world's religions!!)
bye for now, Banker.
You all (anyone who is reading this) have a wonderful day--and a great feast!!
PS We have rain forecast for the next four days. It's gonna rain on our big 5th Avenue Easter Parade!!!