after portland i flew down to reno to visit my family and to celebrate passover. for those of you who aren't familiar with the myriad jewish holidays (there are so many to keep track of), passover is the holiday that coincides with easter and commemorates the jews' escape from egypt after being enslaved by the egyptian pharoah.
we celebrate with a huge meal called a seder, during which every dish, gesture, glass of wine, song sung and prayer said has a specific symbolic meaning. "Seder" means order, so the meal (which lasted FOREVER as a kid) has a particular order in which everything is done. Washing of hands; blessings over wine and food; the asking of the four questions by the youngest child; the exciting game of finding the afikoman, a hidden piece of matzah (cracker-like bread); and then finally eating and singing songs.
the themes of freedom and rebirth are essential to this holiday, making it a very universally applicable celebration. surprisingly enough, jesus' last supper was actually a passover seder!
my aunt gila and uncle dave hosted the seder at their house. they got a big kick of my photographing every single movement and step in the preparation process. i have an essay that i'm working on about the entire experience that i'll post a bit later, but here are some images of my time in reno. it was great to see my family and to celebrate this amazing holiday with them. the traditions were refreshed in my mind and it felt like i was home again after a long long time.
my grandmother, sabta (grandma in hebrew), preparing the charoset, a blend of apples, nuts, honey and wine that symbolizes the mortar between the bricks of the pyramids built by the enslaved jews
sabta and gila inspecting the shmurah matzah, which was made by hands under watchful jewish eyes in brooklyn and shipped to reno. according to them it tastes like cardboard, but i like it :)
auntie gila making matzah balls
the silver came from my grandfather's home in germany
uncle dave, always and forever a cowboy
the seder table!
the seder plate! complete with symbols