Our burnt Haggadah, gefilte fish that attracted neighbors, and puppets

March 2, 2018

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My family has incorporated different Haggadot versions over the years, but we are always sure to use my Grandpa Jack’s original Haggadah, which has a burnt cover from when he nodded off during the seder and accidentally singed the book edges in the table candles.

I love that the seder can host both millennia old traditions of the Jewish people and also bring it to the present and reflect the realities of our family’s life stage. Some years when it’s only adults at the table, we’ve had epic philosophical discussions on holiday themes. When we have the kids, it’s finger puppets and plague masks. Proving that the seder can be home to both the ancient and the modern.

On a very different note, when my mom makes her delicious gefilte fish from scratch, it’s quite a treat. One year, she had the windows open to understandably get fresh air—which attracted our neighbors. We turned to the back door to see our neighbor’s two cats desperately hanging by their claws on the screen, unable to resist the smell of the gefilte fish!

- Allison Cooper

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