We stopped here:
… And then it hit me – the bread crumbs. The stuffed mushrooms were covered with breadcrumbs!
I went to the kitchen right away, where my mother was just handing a beer opener to my new grandma to open a bottle of beer on Passover night for her new boyfriend.
“Ma, you can’t do it.” I tried to stop her, but the bottle was already open.
“Do what?” my mother asked while steering a dish on the stove.
“Ma, the beer, it is not ok for Passover and the stuffed mushrooms! They are covered with breadcrumbs! And your brother is eating it now. You know he keeps kosher!”
My mom turned around and froze for a second. We then both ran back to the dinner table and watched my maybe new grandfather enjoying his beer, my uncle looks shocked while watching the beer consumed while eating his third stuffed mushroom and my father sitting there, with a big smile on his face encouraging him to eat more. Everybody was busy eating and drinking, besides my new grandma that kept talking to her almost-fiancé and piling his plate with more food.
“What should we do?” I whispered to my mother terrified of what is going to happen soon.
“Well,” she said, “your maybe new grandpa is almost done with the beer, so no more there, and he is already tipsy.”
“But what about your brother??? He thinks he is eating kosher stuffed mushrooms!!!” I almost yelled, and my mom pulled me back to the kitchen.
“If you don’t know that it is not kosher, it is ok, and there is no need to say anything,” she said.
It made sense. Dinner continued while everybody was arguing with everybody and my father kept feeding my uncle with stuffed mushrooms. I didn’t have any of this dish, as I was thinking that it will be counted towards my uncle if there is somebody up there looking at us.
Forty years later – time flies – 2019 I’m living in Seattle, married to a non-Jew and visit the local Beit Chabad for at least once a month, for a Shabbat dinner. We also celebrate most of the Jewish holidays together as a family with a few more people that became our local family. A new community has been created.
I would never imagine in my wildest dreams, that I will enjoy the Shabbat ceremony. It is funny that I had to leave Israel to get familiar with my own religion and tradition. I now make sure to share it with my kids who were raised away from Israel within a very small family and moved a lot in the world.
I find the Shabbat nights’ gatherings interesting intellectually and more than that I love the social idea. Everybody is welcome and treated respectfully and with a lot of love in the air. Not a religious love, but more of love for people and acceptance of all.
This Passover, April 2019, we were in Beit Chabad with two of our kids – successful young adults.
A new family joined us and I immediately fell in love and felt a connection. A young couple who came from Israel, from a Russian origin and had a gorgeous three years old sweet girl.
When introducing themselves they mentioned the fact that this is their first Passover ever, as their families never celebrated Passover by reading the Haggadah.
Another circle was closed thanks to the good people of Chabad Queen Ann, Seattle. Their goal was achieved – a place where people feel welcome and comfortable to be together and share the Jewish tradition.
I’ll always cherish the gatherings and the new connections we have established with people that otherwise we would never meet.
Happy Passover, Happy Easter and I hope you are having a good day!
Oh, wait, I’m sure you will be happy to learn that I did get a new grandpa, about three months after the Passover dinner.
As for my uncle and the stuffed mushrooms rolled in bread crumbs – we never told him this story. Remember what my mother said? If he didn’t know, it is ok. Years later – I’m still debating with this theory. What do you think?
*** If you enjoyed what you read, it will be great to see your comments below.
Thank you, Renata