When I was growing up, my parents never actually traveled anywhere, other than the predictable summer shore excursion — and of course, South Florida in the winter.
But that didn’t stop them from engaging in lively fantasy.
“Bud, wouldn’t it be romantic to go to Venice together?” my mom would rhapsodize, eyes shining at the prospect of gondolas and gelato. “Or Firenze! I remember shopping for gold jewelry on the Ponte Vecchio was I was 20…”
The other day I interviewed writer Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” as part of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation’s 100th anniversary celebration.
So, I'm in the middle of my Pesach preparations, as I'm sure many of you are. I'm figuring out which Haggadah to use this year, finalizing the menu that my sister and I will prepare for our guests, and cleaning up the living room and dining room. The kitchen is about to be the eye of the storm, and brand-new bottles of Manichewitz wine are already forming what looks like a small army on the counter.
While I was secretly hoping that Kate and William might need a keynote speaker for their big day, I was not surprised that my invitation to the royal wedding never arrived. I can also say that, as a cheerful and frequent host of many Shabbat dinners, I am far from astounded when my family gets invited out to usher in the Sabbath around someone else's dining room table.
It is often said that if it were possible to remember pain, no family would have more than one child. And yet, year in and year out, we Jews engage in this annual ritual of completely subverting the normal order of our kitchens, and often our furniture, and willingly subject ourselves to the very arduous task of preparing for Passover.
By the way, it is also often said that if the ancient rabbis ever set foot in their kitchens, such that they were, the laws of Passover would look quite different. But we won't go there…
At shmura matzah bakeries, where the “guarded” unleavened kosher-for-Passover product is made, thoughts of the seders start around Chanukah.
By November, the wheat harvested in June — under supervision, to ensure that it does not come into contact with water and possibly become chametz — and ground into flour soon afterwards, is kneaded with water and baked.