I was raised in the teachings of the Catholic church. Ever since I was a young child I was taught that Jesus is good, God is great, and as soon as communion has been served it’s alright to file out of the overly crowded pews. I’m not very devout in my religious beliefs, but I do enjoy discovering new aspects of religion, especially when they come from outside my area of expertise. So when my good friend, Bobby, invited me to celebrate the second night of Passover in the spirit of Judaism with him and his family, I happily agreed.
I drove to his house with my other Catholic companion, Dallis, where we greeted by the 20 other guests with whom I would be participating in the Seder.
They were all so enthusiastic to have us there and immediately began asking us questions and making the effort to get to know us, I was taken aback by everyone’s polite and inquisitive nature, I guess I’d grown accustomed to the indifference more college students portray. After they learned our entire life stories, they took quite a bit of time revisiting old friendships and sharing new developments in their lives. It was delightful to see such a loving reunion, and I was continually and pleasantly surprised as the actual dinner began.
Everyone went around the table reciting from a script, performing ceremonial songs and conducting rituals with various symbolic foods. There were a lot of words I didn’t comprehend and an entirely different language in which I couldn’t even differentiate the words from the syllables, but I never felt uncomfortable. In fact, it was nice to be a part of something so meaningful. After the traditional customs and my reading of a blessedly easy passage to pronounce, the food was served.
In any good experience in my life, food usually plays a crucial role, and that is more than true for this Passover dinner. At first it began with the traditional Matzah which was fine by itself and had a pleasing crunch. Then the Matzah ball soup came which absolutely delighted my taste buds. At one point there was a weird fish that people tried to convince me to drown in horseradish sauce, but I just couldn’t seem to choke it down. After that slight hiccup in the meal, I gorged myself on salmon, carrot casserole, asparagus, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and a chocolate fondue assortment that was so plentiful and delicious I didn’t think I could ever stop gorging myself on it. And as it turns out, all the food was kosher! I’m still not exactly sure what this means, but I know it definitely doesn’t affect the quality of the food you eat.
At the end of the night we helped clean up the huge mess we had made and said our goodbyes and words of appreciation. I had a blast hanging out with my friend and his family, but more than that I actually enjoyed the messages they were sharing and the good company that they knew how to appreciate. Never keep yourself from trying new things, even if you can’t imagine yourself doing them. It’s always good to surprise yourself, and the surprisingly good time I experienced will bring me back for next year’s Seder. Plus, his house has a gorgeous view of the Bay.