Most of the time (in our dating/married life together), we’ve been away from New York for the Passover holiday, but this one is different. Last year, I purchased my matzoh at a Chabad house on Kaosarn Road in Bangkok, Thailand and on the first night, delivered a box to a friend who had recently moved overseas. Nothing on a grand scale, but a gesture that meant just as much. Most of our Passover holiday 2013 was spent in India trying to dodge the most delicious smelling naan until the end of the holiday when I happily dove in to my fair share of tasty bread products. There have been years spent lugging half broken matzoh pieces through the airport to eat with delicious Dulce de Leche on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, or layering with our trusty travel squeeze bottle of Vegemite in Hong Kong. I’ve schlepped homemade mondelbread through countless customs check points and hoped that the chocolate covered matzoh wouldn’t melt in my backpack. We’ve done our best to make the travel version of religious/national holiday celebrations work for us to be able to have them both in our lives.
This year doesn’t involve any lugging of matzoh and travel will be defined by a Long Island Railroad train from Long Beach to Atlantic Terminal to be with family in Park Slope, Brooklyn. A first for our niece born just seven months ago and only the second New York seder for my husband. No Skype, no Viber, no video chat or insane mobile phone bill this time. We’re in the same city and on the same continent as family allowing for an actual celebration in lieu of the virtual one or one spent with others in a new environment. It brings back memories of childhood with family and friends around a holiday table singing songs, sharing a meal and retelling the story of tradition. In all honesty, it’s weird. Wonderful, but weird. We’ve been given a gift to travel and see the world but still make sure we remember where we come from in a way that works for us. This time, travel is at a minimum and family gets top billing. This time we may not get to use our passports, but we get to share the same air as family and watch our nephew enjoy in person…a gift all its own.
At the end of the Passover seder, tradition states ‘Next year, in Jerusalem’. You never know, it just might be the case.
Wherever you are in the world-solo or with family & friends new or old, on the road or close to home, celebrating Passover the coming Easter or just reveling in the joys of life…from my family to yours…HAPPY HOLIDAYS and safe journeys.