Monday, March 25, 2013

The Sights and Sounds of Pessach

For all of the Jewish holidays, Israel creates an environment in which all citizens can appreciate each aspect of the preparation and celebration.  Secular or religious, 86% of the country will sit with their family at a seder this evening, and only 36% of Israelis plan on having bread items in their house this coming week. 

On Pessach it's the boiling of the cutlery on every street corner, with their industrial-sized vats and their special gloves.  It's the small street fires for the burning of the chametz, and the prayer that we all whisper each year, "May the zealous keepers of the commandments remember that the garbage bins are made of plastic and should NOT be set on fire."

Then there are the restaurants and cafes that convert themselves into a Kosher for Passover facility, so I can still have my cup of coffee and pastry every morning.  The flower vendors work overtime, as well as the garbage men.

It's the people on the street who cheerfully wish passers by a "Happy Holiday," and the cashiers who share stories of their own family's seder, as you stand on line to pay for that one last item you forgot to buy the last three times you went to the supermarket.  The market looks like it is undergoing construction, with all non-Pessach items covered up, hibernating until the week ends and our diets return to normal.

The hum of vacuum cleaners follow you wherever you go.

Using the opportunity for spring cleaning as well, there has not been one morning that I have not seen some great item on the wall next to our building, a perfectly good toy or furniture that someone has "donated' to the street, to be adopted by another worthy family.  Several days ago, while picking up Raphaela from Gan, I saw a child's bike, complete with training wheels, sitting on the side of the road.  I told myself to take it home if it was still there when we left to go home;  ten minutes later someone had already swiped it.

Wishing everyone a joyous holiday, and try not to eat too much matza!

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