Passover Madness Tournament, Day 1

Passover Madness Bracket

According to one estimate, $192 million in workplace productivity is lost during the three weeks in March when the NCAA has its annual basketball tournament. This year, “March Madness” coincides with Passover. Your basketball bracket may be busted, but this one’s just getting started: the 32-team Passover Madness Tournament.
Best part about it, you vote for the winner!
Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to the TCJewfolk Facebook page  (and “Like” us if you haven’t already).
  2. We’ll post new match-ups daily for you to vote on.
  3. Follow along each day to vote and see the winners.

We already smell some potential upsets lurking in the first round, but we’ll see what happens.
Right now we have the People region up on our Facebook page for voting. But before we get to today’s match-ups, we have a few honorable mentions, or “play-in” games that happened before the tournament officially started.
In the People region, the 8-seed play-in matchup featured Puah and Shiphrah, the midwives that saved Moses from the river. They went up against Jochebed, Moses’ wife. Two-on-one, Puah and Shifrah steamrolled over Jochebed with smothering defense and the fact that if it weren’t for the two midwives, Moses would have never lived to meet Jochebed in the first place. No rest for the weary though, as Puah and Shifrah square off against Moses himself in the next round.
There were ten plages, but only eight get a spot in the tourney, so we had to cut two from the Plagues region. The first to go was the fourth plague, the plague of Flies. It squared off against Locusts in a game that came down to execution. The fourth plague hinges on the Hebrew word arov, meaning “swarm”. But what swarm does it refer to? Traditional refs took it to mean a swarm of wild animals, while more modern refs believe it to be a swarm of flies. This confusion dooms the fourth plague and it goes down, handing Locusts the 4-seed.
The 7-seed matchup features two underdogs from the “Minnesota Winter” conference: Hail vs. Darkness. Darkness gets points for being the penultimate plague, but both plagues convinced Pharaoh to free the Israelites before he ultimately changed his mind. This game rests on the simple fact that this winter has been dragging on for months, and while the committee can handle the darkness, we’re done with the hail and snow. Darkness moves on.
In the Desserts region, chocolate-raspberry jellies takes on toasted coconut covered marshmallows in another 8-seed matchup. According to this committee, the alley-oop combo of chocolate and raspberries beats coconut and marshmallows any day.
Finally we had so much food to choose from, that even with separating the desserts we still couldn’t fit everything into the Food region.
There were two play-in match-ups in this region. Let’s get the first one out of the way fast—Chametz versus Popovers for the 8-seed. We’re not saying popovers are the greatest things in the world, but chametz has no business being in a Passover bracket. That’s an easy one.
The two components of the “Hillel Sandwich” also squared off for the 4-seed: charoset verses horseradish. This game came down to the final minute. Both foods bring a lot to the table, and both deserve a spot in the tournament. The committee has been on a major horseradish kick recently, and on that alone almost put it through. But there’s just no denying the star power of charoset. Like the 2012-13 Gopher basketball team, charoset has all the talent to be a contender, but sometimes loses focus and lets you down. In this match-up though, charoset came to play, with apples, nuts, cinnamon—the whole works. It moves on by nose.
Today you can vote on the four matchups in the People region:
(1) Moses vs.  (8) Puah and Shifrah. Moses versus his midwives seems pretty straightforward, but anything can happen.
(2) Aaron vs. (7) Burning Bush. We’ve already identified a potential upset here when Aaron takes on the Burning Bush. The Burning Bush, God’s first direct contact with Moses set this whole thing in motion. But Aaron’s no chump; as Moses’ right-hand man, he became the public face of the revolution.
(3) Miriam vs. (6) Elijah. Miriam, the strong Jewish woman, made sure her two brothers remembered their compassion. Elijah helped the rabbis figure out whether the Passover seder required four or five cups of wine. But he kept the fifth one for himself!
(4) God vs. (5) Rameses. Let my people go. Or don’t. Which do you choose?
Tomorrow we’ll put up the rest of Round 1. Vote now!
(1) Moses vs. (8) Puah & Shiphrah/Jochebed
(2) Aaron vs. (7) Burning Bush
(3) Miriam vs. (6) Elijah
(4) God vs. (5) Rameses
(1) Death of Firstborn vs. (8) Frogs
(2) Blood vs. (7) Darkness
(3) Lice vs. (6) Boils
(4) Swarm of Flies/Locusts  vs. (5) Pestilence
(1) Matzah ball soup vs. (8) Chametz/Popovers
(2) Matzah Brei vs. (7) Chopped liver
(3)  Brisket vs. (6) Four cups of wine
(4) Gefilte fish vs. (5) Charoset/Horseradish
(1) Macaroons vs. (8) Toasted coconut-covered marshmallows/Chocolate-raspberry jellies
(2) Fruit jellies vs. (7) Chocolate-covered matzah
(3) Seder mints vs. (6) Milk chocolate lolly cones
(4) Flourless chocolate tort vs. (5) Chocolate-covered marshmallows