Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Chag Pesach Sameach 5769 / 2009

As we move tonight into the week- long Pesach observances, the City of Jerusalem and all of Israel is palpably excited and happy. This is a profound chag (holiday) on many levels - one enjoyed by everyone - at every level of tradition or observance.

For many it is a week long trip after the seder, camping, visting the beaches, a relaxing week off with many activities available around the country. Most restaurants close because kashering them for Pesach is quite overwhelming, so weary cafe and restaurant owners welcome the wonderful respite from their year long hard and constant labor in serving us the public with coffee and goodies.

There are a few who do stay open, switching their menus (after careful cleaning and kashering) to non-chametz, including or not including the kitniyot (rice, beans and legumes enjoyed by sephardim during Pesach). You could tell which cafes would be closing, as the owners and workers were practically dancing through the day on Tuesday, anticipating the weeks vacation. For the others, who will remain open, it was a "business as usual".

Around the neighborhood one could smell the fresh clean smells as apartment dwellers scrubbed up and polished up. Items not needed or wanted for Pesach or beyond were removed as we did a deeper "spring cleaning" and the results were piled on the walls, near the trash bins, waiting for the homeless to find clothes, shoes and many useful items, often in excellent condition.

Stores were in process of hiding, covering or removing all chametz related articles at the same time as customers pressed in to get Pesach supplies and foods. All this making for a real, but fun, balygan (mess)

In addition, starting Tuesday some very visible signs of Pesach began to appear on the streets in the neighborhoods. Kashering stands were set up around town for the purpose of making existing kitchenware and stove parts kosher ready for Pesach.

Kashering on HaPalmach

Flower stands took on a new look with large and
beautiful spring bouquets
made especially for Pesach.

Shuki on Shay Agnon

By Wednesday, yom Erev Pesach, the homes were free of chametz and spots for burning any left over breads or other chametz were seen and smelled all around town, as the last of the chametz disappeared.

Wishing all who celebrate our "freedom", a blessed and wonderful Pesach.

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