However, the kosher options for alcohol at Passover are growing. From super-chic kosher tequilas to upscale vintages from California's To Kalon Vineyard, observant Jews have much more pairing choices for Passover Seder than they've had in the past. Even kosher meal options are growing, with osso bucco and lamb shanks joining traditional brisket, as reported in the L.A. Times.
By the way, for the religiously-challenged - moi included - Passover celebrates the freeing of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery 3,300 years ago. That part I knew. (If you're a religious scholar or don't need a refresher, you can 'pass over' ;) this post and skip straight down to Topol singing If I Were A Rich Man if you want.)
I was in Whole Foods the other day when I saw a children's toy by the cash register called the Passover Bag of Plagues. Waiting for the tree-hugger ahead of me to pack up his wheat grass, I took a look at the colorful little bag. It contained toy bugs and dark sunglasses and a red drop of blood, among other things. I know Christian imagery isn't much more kid-friendly this time of year (hence the Bunny), but plastic lice and locusts? Yikes. Was this some trick to get kids to finish their cabbage?
So Ms. Functional endeavored to learn more. According to the Book of Exodus, God actually brought these 10 Plagues against the Egyptians - not the Israelites - and it's what eventually convinced them to end Jewish slavery.
The worst of the Plagues - the death of the first-born male - was avoided by Jewish people when they put lamb's blood on their doorposts. That way God would know to pass over that house and preserve the first born in Jewish families. So a toy bag of Plagues makes perfect sense as a learning tool for kids. Cute!
Sort of, anyway. ;)
And now... here's Topol from the hit musical Fiddler On The Roof. My Uncle Mike used to bring down the house (almost literally) dancing to this one. With over 4.5 million YouTube hits, it's a perennial crowd pleaser. But it's also been known to cause more than a few cases of frozen shoulder, so if you plan to play along, keep your chiropractor's number handy!
And take off your shoes!