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Passover for the broken-hearted

A text came in right away from my mom: “we saw!” My heart ripped through my chest.

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Passover Essentials

Chani Jos

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MA NISHTANA HA PESACH HA-ZEH …

This Passover was different from all other Passovers. It was probably the same for you, too. Whomever you lived with, maybe your spouse or your immediate family, were your Seder guests. You might even have had Zoom guests. 

Me, I was alone. Seder for one. I am divorced, live alone, and my elderly parents couldn’t fly in from New York this year. I couldn’t live with them during the pandemic because they live in a small apartment, as most Manhattan apartments are, too tiny for three, and I had to stay here in Canada for my work.

You know what else was different? This year didn’t involve weeks-long fights about a certain guest, and on which days they should attend. I said weeks-long. Not embellishment. In a normal year, the usuals attend; they’re not the issue. That one aunt born in a German DP camp, in a walker; she comes. Mom’s friend that she never speaks to any other time of the year, but feels guilty not inviting, she comes. The fifty-something single, never-married cousin from Ottawa, him too. Not many of us left.

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But it’s that one guest, Jen. Her parents live just outside Chicago, in Palatine, and they’re 365-day-a-year bacon-eaters. No seder over there. Whatever — anything Jew-y to them might as well be like worshipping a flying spaghetti monster.  

So I invite her. My parents are double-plus unthrilled. I have to beg, plead, for a little sympathy from my parents, each year, for the past three. She never did anything wrong, never a hurtful word. She needs a Seder, and my door’s always open.

Her only “crime,” I suppose, was committed after my birthday dinner in February, 2017. My parents, pulling out of my driveway, spotted me and Jen locking lips through the front window. Then they knew.

A text came in right away from my mom: “we saw!” My heart ripped through my chest. I feared next time I saw my father – if I ever saw him again soon – he’d smack me across the face with his Talmud. (It wouldn’t be the first time, but that’s another story for my therapist)

Three years ago I met a wonderful woman at a downtown shul, and I was secure in knowing that the love was real. It took me a really long time to accept who I was. It was tough to admit to myself. Out of shame or disbelief? Religious sin? Because I want “normal”? Afraid of being shunned?

I’m relieved that this year, there was no theatrics with my mom. No convincing her that she won’t be made to feel ashamed by the community, when “everyone” finds out. No lip-service perfunctory promising to avoid “public displays of affection,” because she’s afraid of what people in shul will think. No more putting up with the pretending game at the Seder table, where they are obviously cringing inside. No full-table Seder.

This year was different from all other years; I wasn’t plagued with a hail of questions. Then again, I was alone.  

So… how was your Passover?
 

Chani Jos is excited to be a regular contributor to TheJ.ca, and has a lot to say about all things Jewish. She owns an electric scooter, a turtle, and wants everyone to know she just cancelled her Rogers account.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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