Thursday, March 28, 2013

Sam's Big Day And The Second Seder

So in one of my posts yesterday I alluded to the fact that Sam was having a big morning yesterday morning. What did it involve, you ask? Why, now that we know where we will be living in September, we went and registered Sam for Jr Kindergarden. Eeekkks :() In the school district we will be in, he will be going from 9:10 until 3:30 every day. Oh. My. Goodness. And that is becoming the norm for Ontario.

Sam was a little shy and hasn't quite figured out why he has to go to a new school. However, once we were there and he was registered, he was quite excited that he can now take books out of the school library. However we have to wait until next week because he wasn't in the system yet. So next week we will take a trip to the school library. I'm half excited and half sad about Sam being in school.
In the afternoon Sam went to school and Mom, Dad and I got ready for the seder. Then Dave came home and we went and took pictures in front of the sold sign at our new house! Whooo hoo!!! Then it was time for more seder preparations. And now I'm going to let Dave finish this blog post so that he can explain what the seder is all about. Take it away, Dave!

When we got home from our walk, we dove into intense seder preparation mode. Natasha made matzah ball soup (with some assistance from Sam), I made the main dish (Rockin' Moroccan stew), and Rob and Ellen kept the kids entertained. There was also table-setting, candle-lighting, and some last-minute seder preparation by yours truly.
Sam supervising Natasha's matzah ball soup preparation
The seder plate, all ready for action!
Rachel was entertained for a while by the orange from the seder plate.
Sam, meanwhile, investigated the egg-and-salt water appetizer.
At last, the table was all ready for the seder.

The central theme of a seder is re-telling the story of the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt; this re-telling happens through prayers, food, stories, songs, and more food! The idea is that everyone at the seder -- kids, grandparents, friends -- should be able to connect with the story being told, and so the key points are conveyed in a variety of ways. In a typical seder, there is a certain order (the word seder actually means "order") in which these elements occur. However, because of my inexperience in seder leading, the youthful impatience of certain guests, or a general lack of organization on my part, this seder was somewhat.... more fluid, shall we say :)

The seder plate, which appears in several of the pictures, is a focal point of the seder. It has various symbols which help emphasize the various themes of the seder:
  • Parsley, symbolizing spring and new life
  • Bitter herbs (horseradish and the celery), representing the bitterness of slavery
  • Charoset (a chopped walnut mixture), a reminder of the mortar used by the Israelites to make bricks
  • A beet (taking the place of a shankbone), symbolizing the sacrifice that was made during Passover at the Temple in ancient times
  • A roasted egg, symbolizing both the Passover sacrificing and new life in spring
The orange, finally, is not a traditional part of the seder plate, but it has a story of its own: Not too long ago, a traditionally-minded rabbi was asked about the proper role of women in leading a service. The rabbi's indignant response was that a woman had as much place at the front of a synagogue as an orange on a seder plate. Since then, more progressively-oriented Jewish families have put oranges on their seder plates, to affirm (in a roundabout way) the right of women to have leadership roles in the synagogue.

 Some of the highlights, in pictures:
Sam really enjoyed his egg-and-salt water appetizer.
Rachel had fun feeding herself matzah ball soup
Rob, pointing the way out of Egypt.
Donny showing off his new Passover dish: matzah balls and Moroccan stew.
Rachel devouring... something... at the end of the seder.

Some other highlights (without pictures):
  • Natasha saying the blessings over the candles and singing the Four Questions (a kid-oriented introduction to the Passover story) -- in Hebrew, no less.
  • Sam trying horseradish, and discovering just how spicy it really is!
  • Rachel singing along with "Dayeinu", a song expressing thankfulness for freedom.


  1. Awww, I was very excited to read about this. Thanks, Dave! I love the story behind seder, and I especially loved the addition of the orange! It looked like the kids really enjoyed the experience too! Happy Seder to all!

  2. How exciting that Sam is enrolled in school! Did you make it through the process without any tears? The Seder looks so lovely.

    1. Thankfully I didn't cry enrolling Sam in school. I'll probably be a big mess in September when I drop him off for his first day though :(

  3. LOVE the photo of Rachel. So her. :-) Also, why is my husband so sacrilegious?


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