Two years ago I was fortunate to be preparing for and celebrating Pesach in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem. This is one of my journal entries. Friday, the day before Pesach, 2001
Walking to the grocery store (co-op) AM: people standing in their driveways along curbs, with small fires to burn chometz. Two teen age boys, an older man. Nice smokey smell. The bakery which is apparently not going to be open during Pesach is full of people having coffee and pastry.
The little cheese danishes look tempting but I just had breakfast. Many extra flower sellers set up along the street with huge beautiful displays. For about a week now I've been seeing tables in front of stores with a selection of gift baskets with candy and other treats. I assume they are to take as a gift to a person who has invited you to their seder.
Most of our shopping was done yesterday at Machane Yehuda (the produce market). Now I just need a few more things. The cauldrons for kashing eating utensils for Pesach are still set up but abandoned. In the co-op the chometz shelves are now covered with plastic except for the bread. I buy challah and more candy from the amazing display. Clerks say "hag sameach" for each completed purchase. The stores close in a few hours (for Shabbat) and won't open again for two days. I buy too much. Back at the apartment I prep some more food for the seder.
Ronnie picks up Bea and some friends who will be with us for several days. The dorms are closed for Pesach. Hank and Cynthia regale us with tales of a visit to a friend in Me'a Shearim. Impassioned house cleaning- drawers 'shaken' out over their heads from balconies above. Water flooding out of doors into the street. Max and Ashley return from exploring. We all go to the old city to be at the Kotel for the start of Shabbat.
A rebbe arrives with a throng of followers and spirited singing and wild circle dancing begins on the men's side. I try to catch a glimpse through the divider. Yes- Hank is dancing. Max and Ronnie sit this one out. At home, we all cook and eat spaghetti with lots of vegetables, artichokes, and salad. Cheesecake and strawberries. Hank is making haroset with the girls. We have almost no kitchen equipment so everything is chopped by hand. Bea and I have a nice visit in the kitchen while I arrange flowers. We set up beds for everyone. One by one people are falling asleep watching British TV. I am going to sleep- happy that we are all ready for the seder.
For an easy, beautiful dessert this Pesach try:
Stuffed Dates and Pecans
©Ellen Saxe 2003
updated 04/05/2002 - rge
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