Saturday, April 15, 2006

Passover in the Tzafon

Some distant family friends invited my family up north for a seder the other night. I went with out any expectations but was certainly pleased with the experience.

On the way there from Raanana we sat through traffic in Umm Al-Fahm (not exactly the safest place to be stuck) for about 3 hours. We decided the Arabs all made a deliberate effort to go for a drive that day just to increase the amount of traffic - possibly the new face of the Intifada. Basically, it took way longer than it should have.

We began the evening at Moshav Sharona, in the mountains over-looking the Kinneret. After waiting around for a couple of hours we went to the seder. It took place at Kibbutz Kinneret, with a seating arrangement of about 50 people (this was a private seder separate from the massive seder of a few hundred people in the kibbutz dining hall). Not only was it the biggest seder I've ever attended, it was also the most enthusiastic one. In addition to the yelling and singing, musical instruments kept showing up in peoples' hands. It even got to the point where someone would bang on a gong after naming each plague.

Between the electric key-board and the tamberines, it was certainly my favorite seder. But it wasn't only entertaining, it was also extremely comfortable and familiar. The way in which these people were able to make us feel like part of their family was unprecedented. My expectations of an awkward interaction that tends to be interwoven with a language barrior were proven wrong by the family's warmth and openness.

It started at about 8PM and lasted until 3AM. And despite how long it was, I didn't see one yawn or sleeping teenager. Even the 90 year old grandmother was there until the end.


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