Everything was homemade--except the parsley, the matzo and the horseradish. Oh, the gefilte fish was store-bought, too. But the hard-boiled eggs, perfectly boiled, the turkey, perfectly roasted and the mashed potatoes, perfectly mashed, not to mention the peas, which were perfect in consistency, were all homemade and totally perfect. I forgot to ask about the charoset--the fruity, nutty concoction that symbolizes the Israelis enslaved and building with bricks and mortar--in the same way that matzo symbolizes fleeing and not having time to leaven the bread. The charoset may have been homemade, too--like the delicious chopped liver was.
I don't go to many seders
. And I don't know a megillah
from a mezuzah
. But it was wonderful going with my daughter Molly to one at the magnificent tri-level loft of Drew and Deanne Jester in in the South Loop Monday night--a stone's throw from Prairie Avenue and memories of the gilded age. Deanne's mother and father, Steve and Adrianne Rotfeld used to be my neighbors down State Street but moved a few blocks south to a beautiful condo with a magnificent view. The move also put them mere steps from their daughter and son-in-law's loft in the former Eastman Kodak Building
where their grandkids' rooms have heavy doors that once enclosed film vaults.
There were a lot of friends and family at the Seder. And there was a juxtaposition of celebrating 6,000 year-old history with the recent rebirth of the Prairie District area of the South Loop--complete with a casual and fun reading of the Haggadah
, which structures the meal. The Haggadah provokes thoughts and questions about our ancestors--and it did this night, within a modern setting-down of new roots and new traditions on 18th Street.
Steve--who led the reading--at one point asked if there were any questions. One of his grandsons asked about Moses
being in the basket, why he was in one, how he was found and how he got out. Which provoked me to wonder how Moses found out he was Jewish.
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