April is a big month for Ram and I.
Ram has a doctors appointment in Jerusalem that’s required for the visa process; the only doctor in Israel who does these government exams. Ten days after that is his visa interview, also in Jerusalem. At the interview he could be granted a green card! It’s exciting and nerve wracking! This whole process has been SO much more involved then we ever thought. All of the paper work we’ve filled out, gathered and sent to so many different PLACES has been ridiculous. When we go to this interview we have to bring another 500 documents AND copies of every document… Yay. Wish us luck!
April is also pretty chaotic for most of Israel because of Passover. A couple weeks leading up to Passover people get crazy with cleaning. Like the owner of our apartment who has been frantic with projects. Every morning for two weeks he was outside fixing things, waxing his car, painting, improving the yard, and who knows what else, that’s just what I know of. In Ram’s job all their clients wanted their windows cleaned for Passover, so they’ve been slammed! I think of it as spring cleaning.
It’s actually Passover (or Pesach in Hebrew) right now. It officially started on Monday evening with a BIG family dinner and a reading of the Haggadah. Our dinner was at Ram’s parents house with his siblings families, his grandma and his aunt. In all it was twenty people. Everyone was dressed up really nice, except Ram and I. I didn’t know it was so formal… thanks for the heads up Ram! Oh well.
Before dinner everyone gathered around the table for the Haggadah. Everyone had matching little books of the text and songs that tell the story of Moses and the Israelites escaping slavery in Egypt. There was a lot of singing, reading and a few toasts. It lasted about a half hour and I thought that was long. Turns out we did the majorly abridged version, the full version last for hours, usually until midnight! I didn’t understand a thing because it was in old formal Hebrew, but it was fun 🙂 to experience.
After the Haggadah came the big meal! It started off with appetizers of traditional fish dishes (cold fish meat balls and a fish loaf), matza bread (unleavened bread), and salads. Ram’s aunt told me they eat matza bread during Passover because the Israelite left Egypt in such a hurry they didn’t have time to let their bread rise, hence matza bread/unleavened bread. If you don’t know what matza bread is it’s basically a big huge salt less cracker. To me matza bread’s taste and texture is exactly like water crackers.
The appetizers alone were enough to be a dinner feast but soon came the main coarse. There were meatballs with potatoes and leeks, artichoke hearts stuffed with meat, beef and vegetable stew, potatoes, matza ball soup, grilled cauliflower and rice. Best of all was the matza ball soup and a rice dish with dried apricots, prunes, cranberries, cashews and pine nuts! Oh, and then desert after that!
Passover lasts about a week and during that time we can’t buy leavened bread, among other things. Ram said it’s not kosher during Passover. The Kosher rules become MUCH more strict during this week. It was a very interesting experience going to the grocery store today. As I mentioned there is no bread but also many of the isles were blocked off completely for containing too many un-Kosher things. I was really surprised at how serious they are about being Kosher! It’s very strange and foreign to me that religious beliefs apply to businesses. It’s just so different in the states. In the states no one religion gets special treatment and if anyone even slightly feels it does, there’s an BIG uproar.
I’m fascinated and surprised that in this day and age a country’s state and religion are still so intertwined!
I’m reminded that there is a big wide world out there full of people who do things differently.
Some of the Haggadah