Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Up-cycled tradition

Sometimes motivation comes out of the blue, rips the sunglasses off of your head, so there’s nothing you can do but experience the light. Other times, it’s more like you’ve walked inside from a bright day and you can’t find your inspirational bearings.

I experienced both this weekend. I had lofty ideas about everything I wanted to accomplish on our weekend festival getaway. But once we arrived, I wasn’t motivated in the slightest to do anything creative. The last night I found some creative flow, but it wasn’t until I got home that I was truly inspired. 

Once we got home and settled, I made a trip to home depot in preparation of my day off of work, which I allocated to working on the trailer. The winds shifted then, as I got a call from my friend Elisheva, who had invited us to Passover dinner. I had previously told her that we couldn’t go, since it was starting so late. As it turned out, Tucker took a 3 hour nap, waking at 4:30, so when Elisheva unexpectedly called to check in about his nap, we dropped what we were doing and went for it, getting ready in record time. I’m so grateful we didn’t passover this opportunity, as it was a lovely evening of up-cycled tradition. 

From Bla to Ahh...

My childhood reflections of Passover are filled with impatience, hunger, boredom and a couple of fun songs. Let’s not forget fish from a jar, bad wine, if you could call Manischewitz wine, and a belly ache the next day from eating too many Matzohs. While I appreciate the traditional imprint this has on my heart, I don’t think I’ve ever considered that it could be a holiday filled with creativity and joy until I experienced it with my friends, David and Elisheva. They both put so much of themselves into creating and upholding a sacred space for this event that everyone there, I’m sure, was touched by it. 

As the Passover story was told, in traditional fashion going around the circle reading a paragraph each, guests occasionally opted out of their section and instead interjected with questions or relatable stories of their own, which made it feel relatable and relevant for both the jews and non-jews at the table. I was impressed at how they opened the door for inspiration and provided it a seat at the table... It takes special intention to foster space for this type of exchange. They are a special couple, with a shared love for Judaism and it was nice to share in their joy, as well as experience the scholarly knowledge and wisdom of the other 2 other rabbis there, not to mention the catholic ex-nun that had some lovely stories to tell as well. 

Every little touch was infused with a sense of traditional symbolism as well as their personal flair. This is the best way to approach traditions in my opinion, and they nailed it! From the design of the service, to musical interludes, to a beautiful table and creative and yummy food. They even went as far as to provide several options for dietary restrictions. (I haven't eaten Charoses, maybe ever, as it always has nuts, and she made not two but 3 versions, including a 3rd version without wine.) There was also real wine and fresh fish. They had some lovely personal touches as well. For example, the eggs were dyed shades or purple and brown, with imprints of herbs on it. (If I were a good blogger, I would have taken a picture, but as my friend said as we almost refused to eat her work of art, “sometimes, things are just meant to be experienced”. However, she has given me the recipe to share - see below. For those that celebrate Easter, this is perfect activity to do with kids.) During the hand washing portion of the service, there was drumming and humming. So nice! The whole thing was lovely. I left feeling glad to be a Jew and guilty for not being Jewish enough, as this is probably the only Jewish thing I’ve done since their Seder last year.

I consider myself a creative person and a spiritual person, but not really a religious person. Experiencing an evening like this makes me think I am overlooking something meaningful. As my friends breathed life, like bellows, into this stale holiday tradition, I am reminded that religion, creativity and spirituality doesn't have to be separate. There are goodies in all traditions and religions. We are the ones to decide which are meaningful to us, and worth investing in. And when we do, it is our job to own it. Just because we've been brought up with certain ideas, doesn't mean that's all there is. Well, that is one choice, of course, but perhaps there's more. Perhaps if we invest in making a sacred fire, the blaze will burn off what was impure about it, as that's what fires do.

Purple died eggs with garden herb imprints  - DIY

1. Pick herbs from garden
2. Get pantyhose and tie around egg to hold herbs to the egg (twist ties work better, as it's easier to keep the herbs where you want them)
3. Put 1 cabbage, 3 yellow onions, and 3 tbl vinegar in big pot (you want about 3x the amount of water)
4. Boil, reduce to simmer, place eggs and leave for 1 hr.
5. Let cool, admire your creation
6. Eat!

No comments:

Post a Comment