When Passover arrived last year, I was nowhere near ready. I’d made big plans… and hadn’t followed through with any of them. OK, I whipped up a bowl of charoset – the mixture of fruit and nuts that goes on the seder plate – but that was about it. I hadn’t found a shank bone, and I hadn’t hard-boiled an egg, leaving me without two key elements of the seder plate. And though I’d planned to make a traditional brisket, using my grandmother’s recipe, guess what: I hadn’t done that, either.
I felt terrible, in part because Jewish guilt is a powerful, permeating thing, and in part because this was my first time holding a seder in my home – not my mother’s house or the community hall in my synagogue, but in my very own kitchen. It was all on me, and I’d failed, right off the bat.
It was also my first seder with my boyfriend, Mike (who has since become my fiancé and will soon become my husband). Mike grew up Catholic and has since become an atheist, but he’s curious about my religious views and cultural practices. We were both looking forward to our first seder together, and I wanted to show him a good one.