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.