Passover Seder

Last night Josh and I attended the second night Passover Seder at Hale Koa Hotel.  It was organized by Temple Emanu-El.  I really had no clue what would happen this night.  I was raised Catholic so all I know is Palm Sunday, Stations of the Cross and Easter Sunday.  🙂  I’m not much of a Catholic these days, but my memories of my childhood are always there during these religious holidays.

But now that I will be marrying Josh, I need to learn his memories and the practices of his Jewish faith as we will be joined as husband and wife.  I am not converting to Judaism and I’m not saying I never will, but we have decided to raise our family inter-faith.  I love learning new things and most Christians learn the Old Testament (I think…I can only speak for my upbringing as a Catholic, the 10 commandments were drilled into my head).

I apologize for these pictures of myself, I was waiting at my dad’s house for Josh to pick me up and no one else was home except for my dad.  Since he was busy watching basketball, I took pictures of myself.  How vain!  Hey I never do my hair and put make-up, I need to capture every moment that I do! LOL…

Okay after taking the pics, I realized how long my hair had gotten.  No wonder Josh is always touching it these days.  He loves long hair.

And I am so hoping my time on the elliptical working out is actually doing it’s job (I’m not so convinced).  I say I’m not convinced because I feel like my legs are getting bigger…Josh says they are toner, but muscular to me, means “bigger”.  Yikes.  Hopefully they tone up.

And I was surprised to see my right dimple in my pictures again!  I’ve gained so much weight they disappeared for awhile there.  But look!  It’s there again, hehehe…hi dimple!  So I’ll keep working out and hopefully by the time I slip into my wedding dress I won’t feel like a beached whale.

Enough about my face!

So we headed over to Hale Koa Hotel to go to my first Passover Seder.

Right away we met someone who came by herself because she was curious about what happens at a Passover Seder.

We ended up chit chatting because her hubby is in the military and they had just come from 3 years in Germany.  We got to talking about our wedding and honeymoon and she suggested castles and I was like…(is this a sign? lol…).  I think Europe for our honeymoon it is.

We sat down at our table, which included other couples in their 30’s.  The table was set with various items that symbolized different things for the Seder.

I won’t go into details about the Passover Seder, because I might screw it up big time.  Just know I was pleasantly surprised to see the various people attending the Seder.  Rabbi Schaktman who will marry us in July was presiding and he’s a fun guy.  He pointed out that we had people from North and South Carolina, Colorado, Florida, California, New Jersey, Mexico even and other places there that night.

I thought it was very cool for them to come to the Seder even if they were on vacation!

Table set for the Seder

I really enjoyed the songs sung in Hebrew.  I don’t know why but it reminded me of my grandfather singing his Ilocano folk songs.  Is that bizarre?  

Anyway the night went very well, but it went on longer than we thought it would.  It started at 5:30ish and by the time we got out it was 9:30pm.  My future mother-in-law warned me it could get long.

But it was long because I was hungry.  I don’t like parsley but we ate the parsley dipped in salt water.  Josh isn’t here as I type this so I googled it, this action represents: salt water (tears) which mirrors the pain felt by the Jewish slaves in Egypt.

Josh barely ate a twig of it!  And I was like…what do we do?  He HATES vegetables! Lol…and I was watching as other people ate it, so I ate mine, I love veggies but I hate raw parsley…and I was just waiting to see if Josh would swallow (he’s so polite, he did swallow and left the rest on his plate..hehe, I love him).  

I got lost along the way, the crowd was a bit noisy as Rabbi Schaktman tried to tell the story, so I kept asking Josh where we were in the book.  The book reads from back to front (like Japanese books) but for some reason, MINE, read front to back like a typical book.  I wondered if it was bad luck or someone knew I wasn’t Jewish.  LOL…I know, I know, so silly.

I sat next to Josh as he sang some of the songs.  This is his world and I like getting peeks into it.  I didn’t feel bad because there were a few people at our table who wasn’t Jewish but was with their partners.  So I didn’t feel bad I wasn’t the only one singing.  I did try though! 

We had the 4 cups of wine throughout the night, but by the time the 3rd and 4th cup to drink came, everyone’s glass at the table was EMPTY…except mine.  I’m so weak!  We ate the matzah, the hard-boiled egg, I tried the horseradish (thank goodness they had 2 versions!  I liked the milder one way better).  They also had a brown dish made with nuts, cinnamon, apples (?), and other things in it.  And the fish…whatever it’s called.  Hold on, I gotta Google. Got it-gefilte fish.  

After all of this, finally dinner was served by but then I was so starved and hungry, I ate half the plate and was done.  I was ready to go to bed.  But it wasn’t over.  We sang two more songs, one of them about a dog that bit the cat, and the cat that ate the kid…LOL…our table was laughing, I was a little buzzed from the wine.  But it was fun!  It sounded like a nursery rhyme and the people who were still there were clapping their hands and having fun.  I definitely sang that one!

In the car when Josh asked me what I thought of it, I said it was kind of long.  But good.  When I thought about it more, even though I’m not Jewish it made a lot of sense to me.

I told him as he listened quietly in the car: that the event was almost excruciating, but I think that is the point of it all.  The jews were slaves in Egypt, they had suffered, suffered for a long time in other places other than Egypt.  I felt like I was definitely suffering through the Seder.  Matzah, one stalk of parsley, bitter herbs and a hard-boiled egg wasn’t exactly a feast.  This is true.  It was torture for me for that two hours I starved, how weak of me.  It’s a little bit of torture for us here and now.  This little bit of torture is miniscule compared to what the jews suffered in their history.  

I am new to this Passover Seder but that is what I got from it.  There are layers and layers to it, some newbie like me can’t possibly explain what I don’t know, but from my experience last night, that is what I got.  It’s important to remember the suffering.  I loved the songs and the readings about freedom and being liberated.  I love the “retelling”.  It reminds me of days of old before there was the written word, stories and customs were learned by “retelling”.  

To tell the truth, even though I’m not Jewish, the story of Moses, him parting the red sea, always was one of my favorite in the bible when I was a child.  The plagues frightened me as a child and I always remembered the part where they put lamb’s blood on the door so that those households would be spared.  Freaked me out but the story was amazing.

I know I didn’t do a good job of explaining what happens at a Seder in this post.  It’s only from my point of view, which was blurry from the wine, but I tried to absorb it all.  I’m not the best person to ask, it was my first time.  Hopefully by my 3rd or 4th time I’ll be a pro at it!  

As the woman from Colorado addressed the room last night, she said, “I’m glad to see you guys do this in Hawaii.”  
I’m glad Josh invited me to do it.  🙂


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