was Droozy’s favorite holiday. It always came in the spring when the first
small light green leaves would come out on the trees; when the grass would begin
to turn and daffodils and hyacinth buds would peer out of the ground.
“Pessach” was a time of renewal, a time of remembrance.
in advance Mama would clean house. She didn’t leave a single space untouched.
She would clean every closet, every drawer, all windows, doors and floors.
Shortly before the eight-day holiday would begin, she would limit the eating
area so that all crumbs and leavened bread products would be gone. She would
cover the kitchen counters and tables with layers of cloth, to make sure that no
“chometz” (bread products) would contaminate the Passover foods. The lunch
meal would be a light one where neither Matzos nor bread were eaten, usually
just a bit of fruit and an egg or two. All this in anticipation of the delicious
Seder meal, with its tantalizing aromas which could be detected throughout the
soup with Matzo balls were carefully prepared; hard-boiled eggs were the first
thing on the menu; the Seder plate was carefully assembled with its horseradish
and charoseth (the sweet apple,
cinnamon, wine, nut mixture). A lamb bone would be roasted, as well as a hard
boiled egg to fill out the symbolic plate.
was always at the head of the table, sitting comfortably in his chair with a
pillow behind his back. His red “Haggadah” with the colorful pictures were
before him, describing the story of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt
and slavery. The children would chant with him, sometimes listening, sometimes
talking a little among themselves, and having to be hushed. The cups with their
sweet wine would be filled and all would partake of theirs, four times
throughout the evening. The Matzot were round during those days in Germany. They
tasted so good and crisp that Droozy could hardly control herself from eating
them throughout the evening.
many years Droozy was the youngest child in the family, so she would recite the
“Manischtane”, the prayer explaining why the Seder nights are different from
all the others. She felt so special, so important as she gave the recitation of
the four questions and their answers.
next morning was a wonderful time. The Matzo was often broken up into the
beautiful, special Passover cups that were filled with steaming hot coffee.
Honey and butter were there to spread on the Matzot and were enjoyed by parents
and children alike.
would sit with her children and tell the story of Lisanke, a woman who had been
a part of her Hungarian childhood. Lisanke would come to Barscht Chekke, the
village in which Mama lived until she was six years old. Every Passover she
would come to help Mama’s mother prepare for the holiday. She was all dressed
in clean white, starched clothing and would make promises to little Sophie
(Mama). She would say: “Next Pessach when I come, I will bring you a
Plutzermanndele (prune man). It will have eyes of raisins, a mouth of almonds
and it will taste oh, so good!” Each year the children, especially Sophie,
would wait with great anticipation, but the “Plutzermanndele” never
was a link between the generations, it was a time of contentment, a time of
age-old customs and a time of remembrance.