Escape from North Carolina – A Passover Exodus

As many of you may know from personal experience or from my 2017 blog post, The Holiday Where We Enslave Ourselves to Celebrate Our Freedom from Slavery, Passover is….. challenging. The cleaning, turning over your kitchen, food shopping, and meal planning contribute to a distinct level of stress not present with the celebration of any other Jewish holiday. It really is such a challenge that this was actually a factor I considered when we were talking about moving to North Carolina. That might seem ridiculous, but let me explain….

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The Unique Experience of Being Terrified from over 7,000 Miles Away

Recently, Jason and I were very fortunate to be able to take a trip to Japan for our first anniversary. Japan is a place I have been fascinated with and have wanted to visit since I was probably about 10 years old when my mom let me watch the Shogun miniseries when it was being re-run on TV. It is a place that, even from early on in our relationship, Jason and I both agreed we wanted to travel to together some day. We had a fantastic time on the trip and in the next few weeks I’m excited to share some highlights of the trip as well as some tips/recommendations for anyone looking to take a trip to Japan in posts on the blog. However, this post has a slightly different purpose.

I can’t remember exactly what day it was, but early on in our trip, I noticed a few Florida friends posting on Facebook about a certain Hurricane Irma which was hanging out in the Atlantic and building in intensity.

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My Jewish Community – What I Will Miss About New York – Part 1

I lived in New York for approximately 8 years, and there are plenty of things that began to grind on me over that time. But now that I won’t be living there anymore, I don’t want to focus on those things – I want to highlight the aspects of New York that I loved and I will miss. This is the first of a few posts I am hoping to do in this vein.

Now, here’s a fact that everybody already knows: New York is a mecca of Jewish life. The thing is, though, while you can know this fact, I don’t think you can truly understand this fact until you have lived in New York. When I first moved to New York, a guy I knew in law school who grew up on Long Island told me that for the longest time, he thought the entire world was 50% Catholic and 50% Jewish because that’s what he was surrounded by growing up. There are very few places in the world where you can say it feels like the population is 50% Jewish. 

And besides for just living in New York, to get the Jewish experience, I would even take it one step further and say you’re not getting the full experience unless you spend some time living close to an Orthodox Jewish population.

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The Key to Success

This was a tough week at work, ladies and gentlemen. And whether it is good or bad, one thing that helps me feel better after a really rough day is baking. It doesn’t happen often, but Jason knows that if I come home and bake something on a regular week night, it has been a truly trying and miserable day. Last Thursday was just such a day and after a series of events that worked me up into a tizzy, I determined that it was going to be a baking night. But what to bake? I mulled a few options over in my head, but then it came to me: “I know! I can make a shlissel challah!”

Uh, a what???
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The Scouting Mission & Three Tips for Future Scouters

Last we left our heroes, talk of a Raleigh move was coming into focus as a more full-formed possibility. Jason and I both knew that when talk of a move got serious, at least one trip down to the area would be necessary to determine if this was a place we could actually see ourselves living. So, we did some research on the area, booked our flights, and dove into the adventure head first. After I got off the flight and began driving around, though, I started thinking to myself, “Oh my God, what are we getting ourselves in to???”  

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The Holiday Where We Enslave Ourselves to Celebrate Our Freedom from Slavery

Pesach. Passover. Ugh. I guess the best place to start here is with a little bit of explanation. I would imagine that the vast majority of people think of two things when they hear the word “Passover”: 

1. Matzah.
2. Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.

That’s in no particular order, but let’s be real, Charlton Heston is probably #1.

Anyway, in case you are unfamiliar with the basic gist of the holiday, Passover celebrates when God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt.  Charlton Heston Moses approaches Pharaoh and demands that he release the Jewish people. When Pharaoh refuses, God unleashes the ten plagues on Egypt, the most horrible of which being the death of the firstborn son. The Jews paint lamb blood on the doorposts of their homes and are “passed over” by this plague. Afterward, Pharaoh allows the Jews to leave, so they grab their unleavened bread and get the heck out of there. Pharaoh, though, has a change of heart, and sends his army after the Jews to bring them back. God performs another miracle and parts the sea so that the Jews can pass, but releases the waters once they are through, crushing the pursuing Egyptian army beneath the waves.

To commemorate this amazing story, the Torah commands that we do a number of things. Do not eat bread with leavening for the entirety of the holiday, which can be either 7 or 8 days, an explanation for which can be found here. Retell the story of the exodus from Egypt. Have a festive meal where you drink at least 4 cups of wine while relating the exodus story. Wow, this sounds great, right?  Continue reading “The Holiday Where We Enslave Ourselves to Celebrate Our Freedom from Slavery”