This Year in Jerusalem

Or close by anyways… I was invited to spend Pesach in Israel at a good friend of mine’s relatives home in Rishon, about a 20 minute drive from Tel Aviv. My friend Benny is Persian so I went to my first Sephardic seder this year. Other than being completely in Hebrew, which still might as well be Chinese to me, things were similar. There were a couple of odd differences though than my usual gefilte fish and matzah ball soup filled holiday. One of course being the lack of acting out the entire story of the exodus from Egypt with puppets on popsicle sticks and stuffed animals, but really this could very well be restricted to something only my family does. Another was the addition of rice and ohmygod the best charosets EVER. It was blended and when I was handed it on a bite of matzah, I could only assume it was chopped liver as that is exactly what it looks like at my house. As I prepared for the deathly agonizing dense taste of animal innards, you could not begin to imagine my pleasure at the sweet yet, kind of a spiciness tastiness to the charosets. Mmmm…
Okay really here’s the weirdest part that I still didn’t really get an explanation for. About halfway through the seder, handfuls of green onions were passed around. And, you’ll never guess – everyone started HITTING each other with them! Yup, I swear. There was an old grandmother sitting next to me smacking me with a green onion. And some of the kids were really whacking each other with the onion part. So much so that I was really glad I picked the seat by the grandma. Anyone know anything about this?

Four glasses or more of wine later and after eating all this new delicious food (really, I even ate tongue!... but I’m not putting that in the delicious category) the boys at the table started singing and drumming on the table. They sang so many songs, one of which I actually knew which was really fun. Almost for an hour after dinner, they went non-stop. Amazing. I don’t think I could even sing Madonna songs for an hour without stopping and knowing all the words. All in all the night was another great cultural exchange for me in Israel and I really really like the addition of rice related foods for the week.


Blogger Steven R. Neuman said...

They were reenacting the slavery, whipping, etc. and the green onion is for spring. Either that or someone has a very kinky grandma.

11:07 PM  

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