A few years ago, I told my friend, Mitch that I’d never seen the movie, The Ten Commandments. Correctly deducing that this meant I was a horrible Jew and had not actively been passing on critical knowledge (not to mention that great movie) to my children, he launched into an interrogation, asking, “Does Emma know what the word ‘kosher’ means?” and “Does Nicky know how to spell Chanukkah?”
I said, “Oy, leave me alone, already!” and he backed off.
A couple of weeks later, having dinner at my sister’s house, I said, “So, Mitch was freaking out that I’d never seen The Ten Commandments.
Both Rachel and Gary put down their forks, looked at me in disbelief, and said, “You’ve NEVER SEEN The Ten Commandments???? Come on! Yes, you have!!! You MUST have!!!”
I told them that maybe I’ve seen parts of it, but I don’t recall ever seeing the movie in its entirety.
“But… it’s like… a Passover TRADITION!”
To which my son asked, “What’s The Ten Commandments?”
We told him a movie about Moses and Passover. To which he replied…
Hooooo boy. The jig was up. I’d officially failed. Stammering, trying to regain any pathetic sense of Jewish street cred I may have had, I started telling him and his sister the story of Passover. Rachel and Gary jumped in to try to help me. Honestly, they suffer from Vitamin Jew-deficiency as much as I do, though they HAD, clearly, seen The Ten Commandments. I needed all the help I could get. (Dave’s Catholic; he was off the hook.)
We stumbled through what we remembered of the story, and how Jews celebrate and honor the holiday of Passover. In our large, multi-generational seders growing up, I was the second youngest, and always read the four questions (in English, because who knew how to read Hebrew, for Christ’s sake?) Years later, I couldn’t remember them all.
Then there was the matter of the ten plagues. Here, we improvised, remembering what we could and filling in the rest with things like “Phlegm,” “Unruly Cowlicks,” and “Loss of Internet Connection.”
We were able to explain with some credibility why Jews eat Matzoh and why slavery is wrong. We asked Nicky if he wanted to hear any more about Passover.
“Not really,” he said and shrugged. Dinner went on, the kiddos meandered off, and it slowly dawned on me that it was one of the nights of Passover. I said, verrrrry quietly to Rachel, Gary, and Dave, “Don’t look now, but I think we may have just had a seder….” You know, a seder in the sense that it was one of the eight nights of Passover, and we told the kids the Passover story as best we knew how for as long as they would listen.
They said, “Hey, yeah! …Want more pizza?”
About the Author:
When Aliza Worthington was little, she wanted to be a ballerina. And the first female catcher for the New York Mets. Neither happened, but she still loves ballet and baseball. And glassblowing. And “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” And her kids. And husband. And friends. And, now, writing. Come along for the ride on the A-Train, which could stand for either “Aliza” or “ADHD” or “Anything She Happens To Feel Like Writing.” You can find Aliza on her blog TheWorthingtonPost.