Monday, July 31, 2006

Why Is This Night Different From All Others Nights?

Answer correctly, and you may win a prize.
Since my escape from the rituals forced on me during my 12 years of Catholic Schooling, about the only thing I've done that could be considered religious has been the Passover Seder. Here's the wiki blurb, in case you didn't click the link: "...the Seder relives the enslavement and subsequent Exodus of the Children of Israel from Ancient Egypt through the words of the Haggadah, the drinking of Four Cups of Wine, the eating of matzot, and the eating of and reference to symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate."

It may not seem like it from the outside, but with the right group of adults, the Seder can be great fun. There's good food, friends, lots of wine, even songs and games (complete with prizes). And most important, there's the retelling of an important story filled with lessons. Everyone participates and every part of the meal is loaded with symbolism.

Despite all the hubbub over the city's August 29th plans, Gentilly Girl managed to find an alternative way to spend the evening, with the New Orleans version of a Seder. This seems quite appropriate, considering the theme of deliverance associated with Passover. And then there's our own Diaspora. We have our own Lost Tribes. So, every year, the evening would be spent remembering the (evolving and unfinished) story of August 29, 2005 and its aftermath, complete with the appropriate symbolic food, drinks, props and beverages. (Given all the waiting associated with the Aftermath, the there may be a lot of competition for the analog of the Cup of Elijah. Maybe we should have more than one.)

I have to say that this idea really appeals to me. I have some friends who used to invite me to their Seder every year, if they happened to remember or run into me somewhere within a week or so of Passover. Everyone contributed something to the meal (I'd make my famous matzo ball soup), and we'd spend several pleasant hours moving through the various parts of the ritual, often consuming an impressive amount of wine in the process. (Well-paced, of course.) I really looked forward to participating in the Seder and to getting to spend time with these delightful friends, with whom I otherwise probably wouldn't have the occasion to spend time. It's been a few years now since I've attended and every year I miss it. (And yes, Rick, if you happen to find this blog and this post, you can take it as a shameless hint. Please forgive me.)

Like most Seders I've attended, I think the New Orleans Version invites improvisation. However, I do think it needs a better name, than the ... ugh...*swallows hard*... Katrina Dinner. And it definitely needs more ritualized beverage consumption. But I really do like the idea of it. If my house was okay, I'd host the first such event, but since it's not, if anyone else is up to commemorating the day in this way, I'll bring the gumbo.


Blogger Schroeder said...

What a nice idea. I don't know if my place is big enough, but it might work.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Sophmom said...

It *is* a nice idea, but I have to know how does one with "12 years of Catholic Schooling" come to make "famous matzo ball soup"?

5:35 PM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Oh, there's lots more to me than 12 years of Catholic High school... :-D

6:54 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

See there is something to learn about Lisa with vitually every post or comment. I would have figured the 'famous matzo ball soup', but never would have guessed the 12 years of Catholic Schooling. But what suprises me most is the 12 years of high school, If I had to make a guess I'm going to profer a possible 12 years as a catholic high school music teacher??? (either that or possibly an added word typo)

1:57 AM  
Blogger LisaPal said...

Ooops. I said 12 years of Catholic school in the post but did slip and say "high school" in the comment. It was not just high school. It was elementary school, too. And I went to a Presbyterian kindergarten.

If you, yourself had grown up in New Orleans, you would have had the choice of some bad public schools, (and a precious few public magnets that were good), some really expensive private schools, and a ton of affordable Catholic schools. I didn't know until I was an adult just how many kids at my Catholic schools were not Catholic. Had to keep one's mouth shut about that, lest one risk ejection.

11:47 PM  

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