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Posts Tagged ‘Passover’


Posted by evankessler on March 28, 2010

Passover doesn’t begin until Monday…or so I think.  I’m not really up to speed on the dates of all of Judaism’s annual manifestations in the 2KX.  Clan Kessler did things a little early this year, because we march to the beat of a reformed drummer.  It was a good time.  Aunt Melanie and Cousin Erika were in town.  Greg and Kelly brought their new dog Bunny to take part in the festivities…and our normal guests the Wolks were on hand to take part in the rather informal seder happening.

The story of Pesach was told, four questions were asked, and delicious food was enjoyed by all.  DAYENU!

Kelly and Bunny

Two Balls And A Carrot

Aunt Melanie came out of the Kitchen asking, “who wants two balls and a carrot.”  Erika and I seemed like the only two people who found this inquiry to be overly humorous.  We’re very mature. I told Erika I would name this post “Two Balls and a Carrot.” I lied.

Now That's A Good Looking Plate

Oddly, my favorite part of the meal was the Asparagus for really bizarre reasons that you could probably guess.  Not only is Asparagus delicious, but I get some sort of sick enjoyment later in the night when a certain bodily function reminds me that it was part of a nutritious dinner.

A Belated and Be-Earlied Celebration

Several birthdays were being celebrated during the Seder.  My cousin Erika would turn 25 later in the week and the day before my brother turned 61.


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Posted by evankessler on April 4, 2007

It’s been an eventful or uneventful couple of days depending on how you feel about the the act of upholding religious traditions. It was a rather quiet stay in the suburbs aside from the It was also a good time for familial arguments and misunderstandings. Though I suppose that sort of thing is commonplace when people return home and are confronted with the fact that they’ll be under the same roof with their parents once again, if only for a few days. There was a good reason for a get together though, since it was Passover and it was time to break matzah and celebrate being led out of Egypt. Dayenu!

Despite the apparent reason for my stay, the majority of my time at home was spent taking in baseball, as Sunday night when I arrived was the start of the baseball season…but you knew that since I talked about it on Sunday night/Monday morning.

I woke up Monday morning, around noon and partook in some Oatmeal so lovingly prepared by my mother, though I added some bananas, brown sugar and walnuts. The rest of my day was spent watching baseball, looking for work, and monitoring my Fantasy Baseball teams (all named Met Offensive). Aside from the maternal requests to wash the potatoes and help make charoset, the latter or which I enjoyed, I was pretty sloth-like throughout the day. Though I did manage to get in a Costner Post and get through 8 songs on the iPodyssey from Ryan Adams’ “Thank You Louise” to Aimee Mann’s “That’s When I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart”, which just so happened to be the 4000th song on the iPodyssey. At the rate I’m going this thing is coming to a close, which will be just fine with me because there are certain songs I’ve been dying to hear for months that I’ve already passed on my musical journey.

I also had the opportunity to participate in such Seder readiness games like “Clean the Silverware” and “Make Sure the Glasses Aren’t Streaky Even Though They Look Fine and No One Will Care Because The Light In The Dining Room is Out So No One Will Be Able To See The Aformentioned Streaks”. Once I finished those tasks it was back to baseball and the Met Offensive.

At around 4:45 pm I jumped in the shower with the planet’s strongest water pressure (this shower scoffs at the notion of low flow heads, emitting on average 200 gallons of water per second blasting your body clean into the tile at the back of the shower) in preparation for the Seder dinner. Our close family friends whom we usually share the holiday with were coming over though the lineup card was not exactly the same as the previous several years. This year myself, my mother, and Irwin (my brother is in Germany or somewhere foreign) were joined as usual by Rhona and Stuart and one of their three sons David. David was accompanied by his lovely wife Missy and their 19 month old daughter Alexandra who I had only seen when she was but a few months old and quite stationary.

When the doorbell rang, nay, was knocked on Rhona, Stuart, David, Missy, and Alexandra were all standing there. I didn’t expect to see Alexandra standing because I wasn’t aware that she was at the standing age. I’m not even sure what age kids are suppose to be able to stand at, but apparently it’s well before 19 months because she had the standing and walking thing down. Alexandra also had the staring thing down and for the first several minutes she did not avert her eyes from my direction. Now, I’m kind of a sell professed child hater, but when it’s your friend’s child you can’t help but be fascinated. I didn’t make googly eyes or obnoxious sounds at his child. I can never bring myself to do that but I did get a laugh out of the staring contest we were engaged in.

At one point Missy gave my mom a gift and said something along the lines of “since you don’t have any grandchildren here’s a gift”. I don’t think that’s exactly what she said but all of the sudden I thought to myself, “and not anytime soon” while at the same time I was kind of aware how much my mom was probably jealous of her friends who have grandkids, I am nowhere near the point where I can be making babies. I was extremely impressed though at little Alex as she didn’t cry or whine. Sure she asked for her mommy and daddy but that seeemed more because her vocabulary hadn’t been expanded beyond a certain extent yet, though later on in the night I was made aware that she knew numbers, snails, buses, and Dora The Explorer characters amongst other things.

The seder meal was the usual mockery of the Jewish religion as we only went through half of it. We got through all of the important parts: the ten plagues, the story of passover, two cups of wine, singing dayenu, eating Irwin’s homemade horseradish and my Charoset. We never made it to Elijah’s cup since the meal got in the way. I’m sure Elijah had enough wine that night anyway. If you went around to every seder in the world and drank a cup of wine you’d certainly be candidate for alcohol poisoning, prophet or not.

The meal itself was chock full of good eats. There was Matzo Ball Soup, brisket, chicken, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes, vegetable kugel, roasted potatoes, and probably some other stuff that I was too full to partake in. The conversation was fun and Stuart told his usual gambling anecdotes about his trips to Foxwoods. I did steal away for periodic trips to check my fantasy team on my computer but I did so covertly under the guise of a trip to the bathroom. I am most certainly a sports dork.

After the meal I sat with David and Alex as they watched an episode of Dora The Explorer on demand. David told me of the horrors of having to watch the same episode sometimes 3 or 4 times in one morning nevermind how many times that meant watching that same episode in the span of a week. Nothing like learning through repetition. I’ll take Sesame Street over that Dora show anytime but then again, I’m not 19 months old anymore.

When the episode was over we headed back into the dining room for dessert. I enjoyed some chamomile tea and fancy macaroons unlike the ones that come in the jar from supermarket. They were much better than the ones I currently have in my apartment that I’ve been snacking. on. The party broke up at around 9:03, just in time to catch the beginning of 24. I contemplated doing a running diary of the show just then but I didn’t want to face constant questions from my mother as to what I might be doing. Also, I didn’ do one the previous week and might be giving up on them altogether since it seems a little silly to not do it one week and then do it the next. That being said, the show is getting more and more ridiculous and when the President was awakened from a coma to stop an uneccesary nuclear attack on a foreign country only to decide later on in the episode that he should go through with it, it seemed like the writers are trying to keep things interesting by making the events more and more ludicrous. My bullshit threshold has almost been surpassed. I mean this guy was dying an hour and a half ago, attached to tubes and all of the sudden he’s in the White House making decisions. I think they should have held him out at least two more hours of real time before he got dressed like the president again…but maybe that’s just me. After 24 ended I did some more Fantasy watching and finally went to sleep a little after 1am.

I woke up this morning (Tuesday) at 11:45am. I didn’t even try to keep kosher for passover and had some Oatmeal. I don’t think that confines to the laws of Judaism but I’m not really sure. McCann’s Irish Oats have most certainly not been blessed by a Rabbi or even a Rabbinical student. Oh well, I would’ve screwed it up later anyway with a slice of pizza or a sandwich or something. After breakfast, I was determined to finish another Costner post before I made my way back to Brooklyn. It was an important day as it was our 50th post in our mission to get Kevin Costner to visit, “If I Blog It They Will Come” and send in a photo of himself doing so.

My mom drove me to the bus stop in Suffern in time for the 3pm bus to the Port Authority. The bus came at 3pm with a sign that read “Port Jervis” but was broken. I got on and resumed my iPodyssey at song 4000, Aimee Mann’s “That’s When I Knew This Story Would Break My Heart” and I also resumed reading my book, Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”. It was just under 2 hours door to door as I arrived at around 4:45 to the tune of Pulp’s “This is Hardcore”. At around 6pm I reheated some Passover leftovers and watched TV. The Matzo Ball soup was as good as I remembered it.

At 8pm I had a meeting with Andy and the rest of the crew for the movie that we’re making for the 12 hour film festival this weekend. I headed over to Andy’s place with iPod in hand once again, listening to Pulp…The only people at the meeting were myself and Andy as Kayvalyn, Jason, Lauren, and Rich could not be present. Despite the minimal presence, I would certainly consider the meeting or brainstorming session very useful. I’m certainly looking forward to making some movie magic this weekend. You can look forward to viewing it once we’re done with it….if we indeed want to share it with you. I got home a little before 10pm with Kasey Chambers singing to me about “This Mountain”.

I sat down in the living room with Marty and watched the Mets as well as some Daily Show and Colbert. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty complete last couple of days. I’m damn tired and still full of the Jew food.

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Why Is This Week Different From All Other Weeks?

Posted by evankessler on April 14, 2006

Well for one it’s the first week in a long time that I’ve hung around my family for two whole days in a row. That has to be some sort of record. However, there are several more reasons that it is different. It’s probably the first time I’ve been to a Broadway show in 10 or so years and it has also brought us the beginning of the Passover (Pesach) holiday. It’s a shame with all of that going on I haven’t managed to make even a dollar through my store or from working.

Tuesday during the day (wow, no seque, eh?) I did some wandering around as well as Met game watching before meeting my family at Joe Allen for some Pre-theater dinner on 46th street. The meal was okay if unremarkable but there was much anticipation in the air prior to venturing into the critically lauded Broadway producton of Spamalot. I tend to be skeptical of most adaptations or remade productions, as well as movies or shows that everyone raves about, so I was extremely apprehensive heading into the Monty Python and The Holy Grail based Spamalot. As I walked through the doors to the theatre I saw the Broadway tourist machine spring into motion. There was any number of Spamalot related products; original cast recordings, programs, and shirts. Though I was pleased to see the acknowledgement of the plays origin on the souvenir table, as there were Monty Python live DVD’s and a Monty Python documentary. Perhaps my favorite item was the Killer Rabbit stuffed animal. It may have been the best piece of Broadway merchandising and though skeptical of what awaited me I let out an amused chuckle.

Now, to be honest I’m not a fan of Broadway musicals. I’ve always abhorred people breaking out into song for no good reason. There are very few instances in which I find an inspired burst into song to be acceptable. The first acceptable instance is while I’m in the shower. I’ve given myself that license. Probably the only other acceptable musical outburst has to do with South Park episodes or movies. Team America: World Police and South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut contain some of the most memorable songs to date. However, on stage outbursts about forbidden love and dancing children are things I wish to avoid at all costs. As the show began, a historian came out to describe Middle Ages England, which led to a performance of a song about Finland, loosely derived from a similar song on one of the Monty Python comedy albums but adapted to be even more silly for the stage. Normally, if anything is changed from the way I originally remembered it I am immediately bothered, but I did not feel irked in the least. Instead, I felt an odd mixture of amusement, delight, and relief that told me everything was going to be okay, and it was. I was aware that they probably could not have adapted Monty Python And The Holy Grail as it was to the stage and they changed it around enough to make me feel like I was seeing something familiar yet fresh. It seemed as though a large portion of the musical aimed at taking the piss out of Broadway and the institution of the Broadway Musical. Nothing seemed sacred as the traditional Broadway love ballad was lampooned, heroic masculine knights came out of the closet, obscenities were unleashed in front of children, and it was declared “you can’t make it to Broadway if you don’t have any Jews.” During the song which contained the latter sentiment, I wondered how many Midwestern people in the audience who may have never met a Jew felt awkward about laughing.

Though some of my favorite moments of the movie did not make it into the production I was glad to see the Prince Herbert in the tower scene as well as “The Knights who say Ni” amongst other scenes. By the end of the show I was smiling and glad I made it out to the theatre for such an event. Who knows, maybe I’ll make it back there in another 10 years or so.

After the play, my brother went to some benefit thingy and I went with my mom and Step-dad in the car back to Rockland County (that’s where all of The Rock comes from) for Passover. The Seder was Wednesday and what would be the point of taking a train home the next day if I didn’t have any work on Wednesday. Hey, free ride. Forty-Five minutes later we were home and my house was freezing. I don’t know what it is, but my mom likes to keep the house on ice. I think I saw my breath at some point while watching TV.

Wednesday morning came after a lovely ten-hour sleep on my lovely comfy childhood bed. This came after a three hour Monday night sleep. I was thankful for the extra time. Crankiness would’ve been the order of the day had my mother woken me up at some ungodly hour. My day in Rockland was spent doing more job perusal on the Internet. So really it was no different from my life at my apartment. The highlight of my day was when my mom sent me to the Stop ‘n’ Shop to pick up some missing seder ingredients. The highlight of that highlight was when I was walking in the supermarket and realized that the aisle the candles I had to get were in was called the “Super Savings Spot”. It seemed as though I was living out a scene in a movie about suburban boredom as I mindlessly trolled down the fluorescent-lit aisles with floors so clean you could eat off looking for macaroons and chocolate matzos. Though to be fair, those items were in the special Passover aisle, not the” Super Savings Spot”. Okay, wait when I said the “Super Savings Spot” was the highlight of my trip home but really it was the actual ride to and from the Supermarket. There’s no better place to listen to music than your car when you are alone. On my way home from the Stop ‘n’ Shop (formerly Grand Union throughout my childhood) I blasted the new Loose Fur album while driving through the curvy mountainous neighborhood with the windows down. It was one of those all time great feelings that I miss but I feel that if I were living somewhere that such an occurrence was commonplace, it would somehow mean less.

At around 6:30 pm the Seder gathering commenced. Longtime family friends Rhona, Stuart, Camille, Jack, and Nerissa joined us. As usual we only made it through the halfway point of the Seder. We only ever make it to the 2nd cup of wine, which is when you’re supposed to eat the meal. What a meal it was though, Turkey, Brisket, Matzo Ball Soup, Sweet Potatoes, grilled mix vegetables. It was a vast array of delicious food. Afterwards we’re either too stuffed or too uninterested in continuing. We left out the tradition where you’re supposed to open the door for Elijah the Prophet to come in and drink a cup of wine that you leave out for him. We left the cup out for him; we just didn’t let him in. I’m sure Elijah didn’t have a problem finding other Jews in the neighborhood. He probably got drunk before he got to our door and decided he’s call it a night anyway. We sat down and had a nice dessert and soon after everyone left. I drove my car back into the city with my brother while listening to the Minus 5 album. Really the best place to sit and listen to a new album is on a long car drive, or at least a car drive that can last an entire album. You can really figure out if you like an album or not in that time. If you start skipping songs right off the bat, maybe it’s not such a good album. Anyway, that was Seder day.

I woke up this morning, Thursday, at around 9:45am and no calls for work came in. I did a little job hunt but then decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and do a little reading in Washington Square Park for an hour. I’ve got about 70 pages left in A Confederacy of Dunces. I thought I’d finish it before and it’s not that I’m reading slow but sometimes I’m taking a couple of days between going back to it. I am really enjoying it though and I’m excited to be nearing the end since I really am not sure where it could be going. Well that’s not completely true, I see a convergence of characters but the outcome remains a mystery to me and I think that really makes a difference between good literature and crappy literature.

When I got back from the park I sat down to watch the Mets game. I don’t know what to say, the Mets are awesome. I may end up talking about the Mets every day. I know that might bore everyone to death but I was watching the game and I just kept thinking, “I can’t believe how good the Mets are! They just keep getting hits and scoring runs! This is awesome!” Cross your fingers and hope it continues.

I was about to go to the gym at 4:30 when my roommate Ellen came home with beer and her friends Lindsey, Kiera, and J.R. came over. That took care of the rest of the night mostly. When they left and Ellen went to bed I got a drink with Kristin E at Marie’s Crisis. Note to self: Stop drinking so much and go to the gym tomorrow. You’ll probably feel better.

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The Fruits of My Seder

Posted by evankessler on April 24, 2005

Get it. It’s like a take on the phrase the fruits of my labor by I replaced the word labor with Seder because it’s Passover. I guess I shouldn’t have to explain everything like that. Anyway, it was generally a fruitless weekend. Friday night I just plain didn’t feel like going out. I was feeling full from the previous nights culinary adventure and therefore unmotivated. Besides that, many of my friends had already headed home for their Passover Seders at home. I decided that I would leave the next morning on the train from Hoboken.

This weekend last year I was getting excited to go to the NFL draft with Arby at Madison Square Garden and this year I would miss the excitement of watching TV for 7 hours waiting to see each team draft a player out of college every 15 minutes starting at noon on Saturday. That was fine by me, since the Giants only had 4 picks this year spread out over 2 days. Although, my curiosity got the better of me several times during my time in Rockland and I had to run over to the TV to check if the Giants had picked yet during our Jewish tradition. I think I could’ve phrased that last line better. Anyway, it was an interesting get together. Our guests included Rhona and Stuart Wolk who we basically do every holiday with, although their kids were absent seeing as they were all with their significant others’ families. Rhona’s Brother, Jack, came with his family, (Wife – Camile, Son- Mark, Daughter-Nerissa) who are also at all most of our major family holidays as well. Jack also bought his mother and father in law which was different. It’s strange having someone else’s extended family at your seder, not that it bothered me it was just strange. My mother also invited her friend Janelle and her fiancée Mike. I’m not quite sure how my mom knows Mike and Janelle seeing as they are all of 27 years old. I think the story goes something along the lines of she taught in my mom’s school before she decided she didn’t want to be a teacher anymore. I guess I forgot to mention my brother was there to. Fine, you’re caught up on the attendees of my Seder. How exciting for you.

Normally we only get halfway through the Seder, eat our meal and never get back to it. My mom was determined the full way on this one. We all read our parts through the Haggadah, with my mom making sure she sang all of the songs. We got to the meal rather quickly but we didn’t skip anything I don’t think. The meal was delicious with Matzo balls soup, brisket, turkey, vegetables, some sweet potato apple thing, bitter herbs, charoset, and more food than I can remember. We always have good meals due to the fact that Rhona, my mom, Irwin and Camille are pretty excellent cooks. Actually Camille’s mom made a very spicy Broccoli Rabe, which I rather enjoyed. Here’s where I would put a picture of the food if I had taken any.

After the meal we left the Seder table for some relaxing conversation of which I really had nothing to contribute. Greg was talking about models and Stuart and Irwin were talking about real estate. I went upstairs into my room because I had a feeling that there was something I needed to bring back. Though I didn’t come across what I needed to bring back I did come across a picture of the time in 6th grade when I went with my GATE (Gifted And Talented Education) group to meet the President George Bush (the first one) and Mikhail Gorbachev in New York. It was really wonderful and they didn’t mind that we were jumping all over them. They were really pretty nice guys for a bunch of power hungry world leaders.

GLASNOST: Even though President Bush got a little testy about people hanging
over him he was a good sport and Gorbachev, forget about it, that guy loved us.

I also came across my 1st grade class picture. Good stuff. It reflected a simpler time before all of the previously mentioned human rights violations took place in that class. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do a search for the word “violation” or “Haitians” or “rug” on this page.

I was a total babe magnet in the 1st grade, Can you guess which one is me?
Oh, and by the way three of these people are my friendsters.

Anyway, I just wanted an excuse to put those pictures up. After discovering the pictures in my room I went back down for the dessert portion of the Seder. And this is the part that really gets me. My mom wants us to finish the tradition of the Seder, which we never do but in finishing that tradition she shows no regard for the tradition. What do I mean? Well, the last part of the Seder calls for two more cups of wine. Seeing as we were at dessert though my mom, who made such a big deal about keeping with tradition, suggests that we just substitute the cups of wine with cups of coffee. (Just like the coffee we had in the desert when we were escaping Egypt) This is coming from the same person who insists we go to temple for Yom Kippur, but then rushes out to leave after an hour. Religion at your convenience is hardly religious. That’s not to say I’m arguing, I’m just pointing out the hypocrisy on display. In keeping with tradition I poured whoever wanted some more wine to partake in the tradition. That’s not to say I’m a traditionalist, but if we’re going to pretend to be, let’s not do half assed pretending. So we ate a dessert that consisted of Macaroons, fruit, and a really great chocolate cake my mom made without flour that is kosher for Passover.
Overall it was a long, and pretty decent meal. It was fun despite the abnormal wealth of unfamiliar faces. Though I wouldn’t necessarily consider 4 people a wealth of people. Afterwards, Greg showed everyone the pictures he took from the wedding of Rhona and Stuart’s son Jon that we attended several weeks ago (see 3/27/05 blog). Everyone stood around the couch looking at a slide show on Greg’s computer. Everyone was staring like it was the first time they’d seen moving pictures, even though they weren’t moving. It was a funny sight though, everyone gathered around Greg’s computer as if it were Prometheus introducing fire. When the slideshow ended, we said our goodbyes and Janelle and Mike gave us a lift into the city in the pouring rain, which was extremely nice of them.

This morning I woke up with no agenda and it was a little cool outside so I didn’t really look to have a plan. I did some spring- cleaning since my previous efforts at doing so had been undone so quickly. I suspect I will have to give my room another once over in the tidying up department in another week or two because we hope to have a spring barbecue sometime soon. I also went to the Pita Pit today, which just opened this weekend around the corner from me. It was one of my favorite places to get food back in Syracuse and now it’s in my very own neighborhood next to the new independent movie theater which I’m also extremely excited about. Tonight, I don’t have much else planned except I have to watch 24 before the new episode tonight. I was going to put an entry tonight with that recap but perhaps its too late for that seeing as it aired last week. I’ll just update you on all of the 24 happenings tomorrow night, as if you care. Okay, I think that’s enough. I hope you had a good weekend. I can’t believe I was actually able to write this much about mine.

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