It all started a couple of years ago, when my hubby, kids and I were visiting my sister and her fam over Spring Break. Okay, wait…it started a couple of weeks before that – when my awesome friend, Mitch, was reeling from disbelief that I’d never seen the movie, “The Ten Commandments.” The one with the NRA enthusiast and the King of Siam? Correctly deducing that this meant I was a horrible Jew and had not actively been passing on critical knowledge (not to mention that great movie) to my children he launched into an interrogation consisting of questions like, “Does Emma know what the word ‘kosher’ means?” and “Does Nicky know how to spell Chanukkah?” or questions of that nature. (By the way…no, and no.) I said, “Oy, leave me alone, already!” and he backed off.
So, a couple of weeks later, having dinner at my sister’s house, I relayed this silly interaction between me and Mitch. I said, “Can you believe he was FREAKING out that I’d never seen ‘The Ten Commandments?’” Both Rachel (my sister) and Gary (her husband) put down their forks, looked at me in disbelief, and said, “You’ve NEVER SEEN ‘The Ten Commandments????” “Come on!” “Yes, you have!!!” “You MUST have!!!” Sigh. No. Maybe parts of it, but I don’t recall ever seeing the movie in its entirety. “But…it’s like… a Passover TRADITION!” To which my son (then 11) asked, “What’s ‘The Ten Commandments?” We told him it was a famous movie telling the story of Moses and the story behind Passover. To which he replied…
Hooooo boy. The jig was up. Judgement day was here. I’d officially failed as a Jew-mom. Stammering, trying to regain any pathetic sense of Jewish street cred I may have had, I started telling him and Emma (the youngest had hopefully left the table by now…) the story of Passover. Rachel and Gary, bless their hearts, jumped in to try to help me. Let’s be honest, though. Those two suffer from Jew-deficiency as much as I do, though they HAD, clearly, seen “The Ten Commandments.” I appreciated the effort, though, and I needed all the help I could get.
We stumbled through what we remembered of the story, and how Jews celebrate and honor the holiday of Passover. In our large, multi-generational seders growing up, I was the second youngest, and always read the 4 questions (in English, because who knew how to read Hebrew, for Christ’s sake?). This was years later, and I confess to not remembering them all. Do I get a pass because I was past 40?
Then there was the matter of the ten plagues. Here we improvised, remembering what we could, and filling in the rest with things like “Phlegm,” “Unruly Cowlicks,” and “Loss of internet connection,” or something equally ridiculous.
We were able to explain with some credibility why Jews eat Matzoh, and why slavery is wrong, and asked Nicky if he wanted to hear any more about Passover.
“Not really,” he said and shrugged, so we changed the subject. Dinner went on, the kiddos meandered off, and it slowly dawned on me that it was one of the nights of Passover. I said, verrrrry quietly to Rachel, Gary and Dave, “Don’t look now, but I think we may have just sorta had a seder…” They were all, “Hey, yeah!” You know, a seder in the sense that it was one of the eight nights of Passover, and we told the kids the Passover story as best we knew how and for as long as they would listen.
We may have been eating pizza, I’m not sure, but who cares?
p.s. I still haven’t seen “The Ten Commandments.”