gefilte-fishTonight is the beginning of Passover, the Jewish holiday that rivals Christmas for importance if you happen to be Jewish.  A year ago I was visiting friends in Chicago and attended my first Seder while there.  And it was a Seder to remember!

First of all, it was held at the ‘home’ of a Chicago psychiatrist who lives in a swanky highrise apartment on Lake Shore Drive.  I think there were about 18 or so of us and we were served by hired African American servants, one of whom was Muslim and couldn’t serve the wine.  If you know anything at all about the Bible and the story of the Exodus, you’ll appreciate the irony of this.  The food was catered and was apparently top notch.  I’ve never eaten matzo ball soup or gefilte fish in my life so I wouldn’t know icky from wowza.  But trust me when I tell you my friend thought it was wowza.

Other than the novelty of a first cultural experience, I’ll remember this evening for two other reasons:  the first was the quality of the dinner conversation.  I was seated next to Lenore Skenazy (the hosts’ daughter-in-law) and she had just been named World’s Worst Mom.  Izzy, her son, was also there and I’ve never met a more mature 10-year old in my life.  We spent some of the evening talking about the uproar, and although I have no children, I had to agree with Lenore that excessive sheltering of children for fear something awful will happen to them, doesn’t help them learn to make decisions or think for themselves. 

The second memorable impression of the evening was the jam session after dinner.  That 10-year old, Izzy, is a remarkable musician, who jammed with his dad, brother, uncle, and grandfather.

Oh, should you find yourself participating in a Seder, make sure to use lots of horseradish on that gefilte fish.  You can never have too much horseradish.


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