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Banker - Your Question about Passover

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Old 04-11-2004, 07:32 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 1,031
Twinlynn HB User
Talking Banker - Your Question about Passover

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 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 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, 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!!!

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Old 04-11-2004, 12:37 PM   #2
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,185
Banker HB User
Re: Banker - Your Question about Passover

Lynn, thank you and yes, I have more questions but i have to run so I'll write more later. Again, thanks for taking the time to explain... I appreciate it. I'll write more in a few hours. My sister is waiting on me to pick her up and we're going to work out so to answer your question about traditions..??? lol, just kidding. My family is different. Again, thanks and talk to you soon! Oh, by the way - NO smileys or anything on my screen. What's up w/that????

Old 04-11-2004, 07:44 PM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,185
Banker HB User
Re: Banker - Your Question about Passover

K - I'm done w/the gym, went and picked up my almost two year old and did all of the 'mom' things and now I can write. I should be working but my ADD self is going to set the alarm for 4:00 a.m. and try to work in the a.m. I've had this plan many times and it never works but for some reason, I continue to try. I am the absolute world's WORST procrastinators... In fact, even though I'm probably going to get a tax refund, do you think I've done my taxes? That would be a big NO!

Anyway, as far as I know, there really aren't any 'traditions' regarding Easter. I mean, at church we obviously celebrate the 'resurection' by simply discussing the scripture and usually, there is an 'easter contada' that's pretty nice. I enjoy music so much, it literally can heal my soul. It's rather odd (off the subject) but I realized today when I made a CD with all of my old favs on it to listen to to work out, that I haven't really enjoyed JUST music in about 5 months. Isn't this odd? I would listen to talk radio in the car and would NOT listen to music. I've always been the type to blast the radio and sing as loud as I possibly could and today is the first time I've done this in forever. I think it is directly related to my depression or lack thereof or whatever you want to call it. It's extremely theraputic for me. I wonder why (even though I was with my boyfriend for the last 4 of the 5 months) that I haven't been enjoying something that is so good for me.

One time I had a break up - and I went without music for a long time. But this time, I went without it, even when I was with someone. But today, I had all kinds of wonderful songs playing them as loud as I could in the car and just singing away. I actually felt good. But yet I still miss my ex. Again, it's hard when I don't have the kids but the minute I see them, most of the sadness goes away. Anyway, how in the heck did I get off on that --- oh, music at church.

Anyway, after church family just gets together and eats whatever (usually food like ham and/or Turkey and we usually just have the Easter egg hunts with the kids. One reason why I am interested in all of the other religions is because of all of the traditions. I know with Catholosism (spelled correctly?) they have tons of traditions but I don't know much about them. Normal Baptist and Methodist and other types don't have much tradition in them. This is just from my own experience and I've attended several different types of denominations.

The 'TRADITIONS' part is one of my favorites in the movie, Fiddler on the Roof. I just can't tell you how much I love this movie.

Also, I visited NYC about a month after 9/11 and saw several jewish men with like long curly grey hair on the streets. They were so neat to watch. Someone told me they were 'selling diamonds' or something like that? They are the real Orthodox jews or no? Again, it was just neat to see them in person being in NY. Which I absolutely LOVED, by the way.

One more thing, I have a friend who is Jewish (doesn't practice it, doesn't go to temple or anything) but her family does passover and I remember her saying something about everything comes out on a different plate or something?

Anyway, thanks again and I hope you have a wonderul night!

Old 04-13-2004, 07:27 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 1,031
Twinlynn HB User
Smile Re: Banker - Your Question about Passover

Hi, Banker!

Finally have a minute (am at home) to answer some of questions you had and comments you made on this thread.

1. Alice had the same problem getting "Smileys" on her machine. I'll ask her to tell you what she did to bring them up. (I can't remember.)

2. How funny that you mention about music going out of your life. All my life, I listened to music constantly, sang along, even took part in amateur community musicals. I loved hearing my favorite stuff. But when my Mom developed her dementia in the early '90's...which intensified my own depression, I just stopped wanting to hear any music. All the songs just made me want to cry. And, I just never got over that connection between music and sadness. I don't even have a radio or a music system right now. (Strangely, when I was in my teens and asked my Mom why SHE never listened to music, her response had been " makes me feel too sad.") And I had thought that SO strange! Maybe there was a gene in our family for this trait!!! LOLOL!

3) You mentioned how fascinated you were by all the different religious I'm trying to think of a few. (Reformed Jews like myself wouldn't follow the traditions that the Orthodox do.) I think what your friend meant by "the food comes out on different plates" is either a) if she's referring to Passover, she may mean that the symbolic foods; eg. bitter herbs, "harossa" (spelling??)--nuts and honey, etc, are passed around the table one by one on separate plates, as the person who reads the "Haggadah" (the Passover service) explains what each food or herb symbolizes. Or, b) your friend may have been referring to how the Orthodox keep separate sets of dishes for meat and dairy products, according to dietary law. ("keeping Kosher"). The Orthodox do not eat dairy products and meat products at the same meal.

Those men you saw in New York--the ones with the long, curly hair in front of their ears (and maybe wearing long black coats and tall hats?) were probably the Hassidic Jews. There are several different sects and these are the groups that live almost entirely apart from everyone else. (They would probably consider Jews like me "Christians"!!! :-) LOL! Ironicall--although the sect came about in the 18th century in Eastern Europe as a Jewish "mystical" group--ie; they rejected the strict Talmudic scripture and professed that God could be seen in all of one's surroundings....and said that one should serve him through every word and deed (the word "Hasad" means "kind")--they ultimately became the strictest followers of old Jewish law...with many restrictions and many rules that must be followed. Their type faith and how they worship is as different to mine as any Christian sect would be. There are many Hassidic sects living in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn..and some have formed communities in upstate NY. They almost seem to be from a past century and do not integrate themselves with other people outside their communities.

Or, the men you saw could have just been very Orthodox. You hear the discussion about diamonds because the Manhattan Midtown area has several streets almost completely devoted to the sale of gold, silver and gemstones. The many tiny booths and rooms within each building are traditionally owned by Jews, who pass them down to their own children. As a result, you get a lot of Kosher coffee shops around there--some "dairy" (with blintzes, bagels and lox, potato pancakes, noodle puddings, etc) and some "meat" (pastrami sandwiches, corn beef, brisket, etc.)

Those long curls in front of the ears ("peyas"--I've spelled it wrong) are worn by the Hassidic and very Orthodox Jews. Even the little boys grow them. And all the males wear yarmulkes (caps--all different designs on them--some very fancy--some for the little boys, with baseball bats and balls printed on them!!!)

There is one very Orthodox group of people living further north from me, and I see them every Saturday, entire families walking back and forth (a great distance) from their home to their synagogue. The women seem quite well-dressed--though too conservative for MY liking! LOL!

I am so pleased you loved New York. I am a walking advertisement for my hometown. I, too, love it very, very much and never tire of the diversity of people and places here. My British friends call me a hopelessly enthusiastic tour guide operator, I put so much intensity into their travel itineraries when they visit me!! I always include lots of slightly out-of-the-way places that tourists almost never see. And each time I "conduct" the tour...I'm as excited about what I see as the first time I saw it!!! LOL! (I've had many suggestions that I do special tours of the city as a full-time job! And...believe me...if I could...I would! But I've had to curb my enthusiasms and stick to a "real" job--with "real" money...and "real" health insurance!!

By the way...I married a Christian fellow (now my "ex" from London)--and my mother was not worried about the "mixed" marriage...although my Orthodox Aunts and Uncles were pretty surprised!! To their ever-loving credit, they never said a word to me...and welcomed Brian into the family the way they would have welcomed a long-lost son! With lots of warmth and love.

I have just talked on and on and on!! Sorry! Hope I haven't bored you with all the details...but I am just forever curious about just about everything on this Earth!!!

Okay, have absolutely got to go now and check my work e-mails and telephones calls. Hope you have a great day! (I'll be looking for Michelle later..haven't seen a post from her.....and my beady eyes will be checking it out. I may have missed any she wrote yesterday afternoon or this morning.)

tty soon, Lynn (This "smiley" is saying hello to your baby girl!!!)

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