Between sniffles and snow our family has spent a lot of time indoors this Winter. We’ve movie-ed and play doh-ed, danced and colored, played and read enough to fill our hearts to the brim, and perhaps overflow them a bit, too.
So earlier this week when I asked the kids, What should we do this afternoon?
And I was met with the unexpected response, Let’s make latkes!
It gave me pause. Lots and lots of pause. But it’s not Hanukkah! The oil! The smell! We should be getting ready for Passover! Bring on the matzoh! All raced through my mind.
But then. Then I thought, Why not? Why wouldn’t I conjure up the softness and goodness and coziness that latkes bring on any old time of year? I couldn’t think of a single good reason not to, so we did. We mixed and fried and slathered in sour cream and applesauce and we ate. And it was all that I want my children’s Winter memories to be.
And that’s how we ended up making Chanukah latkes when we should have been preparing for Passover.
Passover celebrates the Israelites exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. It’s rich with storytelling, tradition, and food and can be celebrated right in the comfort of our own homes. So it’s easy to see why so many of us celebrate it in one way or another. Tasting latkes mid-March isn’t exactly in line with tradition, I get that. But that “in one way or another” is the rub for this eight day holiday.
If the Israelites had followed suit and done things the way they had been doing, the way others expected them to do, where would we be today? It’s our job to share holiday experiences with our children and to truly show them why they’re important to us. And equally important is to create the kind of memories with our children that they’ll want to put in their pockets and carry around with them forever. There are so many amazing ways to bring traditions alive and to show our kids that the good stuff in life can be accessed right here, right now, within the folds of our family.
So in the spirit of fun, embracing small moments, redrawing boundary lines, and non-traditional traditions, here are five amazing albeit different ways to celebrate Passover with your children.
5. Retell the Passover story a million and one ways. Let your children paint a mural, write and illustrate a book, use finger puppets. Offer up a few ideas, let them decide. Let them own it.
4. Put on a play. Wear costumes. Yes, you too.
3. Let your kids build pyramids. ‘Nuff said.
2. Make matzoh crack. Even if you don’t celebrate Passover, make matzoh crack.
1. Let your kids ask their own questions. Whatever questions pop into their minds. And take the time to discuss and find answers together. The dialogue will be priceless and the learning two-fold from the sit-and-listen style that most of us grew up on.
We all learn more when we’re engaged. It’s also the way that we make memories, connections an habits. So really, it all comes down to this: Learning, memories, and matzoh crack. And perhaps a latke or two thrown in for good measure!
Galit Breen is an Israeli freezing her tuchus in Minnesota. She’s a Mama of three currently working on her first book about teaching children spirituality outside of religion. You can find her regularly at These Little Waves or here at TCJ on the first Friday of each month.
There must have been something weird in the air this week – Maya was asking for latkes too! (In the middle of eating an entirely different dinner mind you, so her “lets have latkes instead of this” approach was unsurprisingly not an overwhelming success ;).)
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A tradition in my family for Christmas every year was to make latkes for breakfast. They were always so delicious.
@Robin, you have to give the girl credit! 🙂
@Jess, they really *are* delicious, aren’t they?!
Let your kids ask the questions. That is the best idea.
I think I am going to figure out how to combine #4 and #5 this year…
And we think Latkes are fine to eat year-round, too.
Oh, I have never had a latkes. looks yummy. I love the whole concept of creating new traditions for older traditions/holidays.
Thank you sweet friends!
@Sarah, I know. You and me, lady? The same in this way!
@Jen, LOVE! Seriously love it! You must share photos!
@Keishua, Latkes really *are* just so very yummy! And yes, recreating traditions is beautiful, for sure, but most of all FUN!
– Get a new Haggadah to share with your kids.
– Prepare a plague bag for the seder.
Latkes at Passover? Maybe Chocolate Matzah Balls for Hanukkah. Try the recipe in my book, The Joyous Haggadah.
Galit, a lovely article 🙂
@Ilana-Davita, Yes! Love these ideas so much! My kids are HIGE fans of plague bags!
@Liora, Hooray for your comment and chocolate matzoh balls! Can’t wait to check it out! Thank you. 🙂
@Ayala, Thank you so much, friend!
Ha! The kid has been asking for about 2 months now when we’re going to take out the pyramid again, so I guess it’s a hit. I’ll let you know if reassembling was as easy as I hoped.
I won’t even mention how often Bad Cohen has been asking about Matzah Crack, still 2 weeks away from the holiday. 🙂
Great post, Galit! And I’m so excited to try the matza crack!
Tzip- I know! I can’t wait for the crack either and hooray for people trying out *your* fab ideas! XO, Mama!
Nina- Thank you so much! I hope y’all like it! Let me know what you and yours think! 🙂
I suggest getting a new Haggadah…I have several that I have collected over the years, and each one has its own uniqueness to it.
Latkes…good any time of year, like chicken soup with matzoh balls.