Saying Goodbye to Passover
Updated: Jul 20, 2021
I can’t believe the Passover holiday is already so far behind us. It feels like a wonderful, warm memory. Mom couldn’t be at the Seder with us, but we sang one of her tunes that she learned while singing with her choir, Zemer Chai. In fact, it was a tune I searched for desperately but could not find. Not among Mom’s musical scores or on any website. In desperation, I contacted the choir, wondering if anyone would remember Mom. It turns out that there are still a few old-timers there who not only remembered but willingly tracked down the tune for me and sent me a recording so that we could learn it. That was a good moment for me, bringing Mom to the fore and singing in her stead.
My husband Jeff, being off from work, came to visit Mom for the first time in about a year. She wasn’t much changed, he said, though he admitted that the distance between us made our interaction less immediate.
Perhaps because he so rarely visits, he did not have the same connection with her that he used to. Mom always took a shine to Jeff, and after her diagnosis, she loved to flirt with him.
Mom was very much in her element, alternately singing along and smiling or berating us with a string of nonsensical—yet clearly negative—words.
Meanwhile, I’ve had the thought that masks may actually do good work. We’ve become a little lax here in Israel about wearing our masks, and over the Passover vacation our family was out and about with a horde of other Israelis trekking and picnicking. I am now definitely suffering from sinusitis. It’s the first time in more than a year that I’ve been sick and I know I stayed healthy by wearing masks and isolating in my home. I don’t have much energy for anything right now, and I won’t be visiting Mom tomorrow; we need to keep her healthy.
And more than anything, I’m just sad. We said goodbye to our daughter tonight. She’s now on a plane to the US after being home for the duration of the year. Her return was our surprise Corona gift, a spark in an otherwise difficult year. She reconnected with all her friends, and she even met a lovely, thoughtful young man who is with her on this adventure. First stop is to see Grandma in Maryland. Then on to LA where they will live for the next couple of years. It is ironic that she so eagerly wants to return to a country that I so willingly left.
But enough wallowing. It is deliciously hot outside. It’s my favorite time of year when we celebrate Israeli Independence Day. Green fields from all the winter rains; cool, breezy nights; a plentitude of flowers; watermelon; migrating birds; and blue and white flags adorning every yard. There are enough things in the world to be thankful and grateful for.
One good thing about sinusitis is that it dulls your appetite. I’m hoping it will wean me off the tremendous terrible amount of sugar I’ve been eating all week. But just in case you were looking for a really yummy dessert—which I must admit I ate too much of—here is the Passover Chocolate Biscotti recipe my niece Tzipporah shared with me. I believe credit goes to Joy of Cooking’s Jamie Geller, with a few tweaks.
Gluten Free Passover Chocolate Biscotti
Wow, these cookies are truly a chocolate delight.
1¼ bars dark chocolate, broken into pieces (about 4 oz or 115 gr)
1 tsp water
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 Tbsp potato starch
1½ cups ground almonds
¼ tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° F / 180° C. Place broken chocolate bar, vanilla and water in a small glass container and cook on high in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir. Repeat until chocolate is melted. Add oil and eggs, sugar and remaining ingredients, lastly folding in the chocolate chips. Make two “rolls” or “logs” of dough on a large cookie sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 30 min. Dough will be slightly sticky. When logs are cooled, cut into ¾ to 1” thick slices and place the long cookie strips cut side up back on the cookie sheet. Bake for an additional 14 minutes until cookies are crunchy outside but soft inside. Let cool. Break strips into cookie-sized bites. Eat!