5 Reasons Why A Non-Practicing, Atheist Jew is Celebrating Passover This Year

Passover

Both of my parents are Jewish.

I went to Hebrew School twice per week during many of my pre-teen years.

Twenty-four years ago, I became a man (aka, I became a Bar Mitzvah <– and no, that picture is NOT of me).

That being said …

Not counting a family Bar/Bat Mitzvah, I could not tell you the last time I was in Temple (or is it called Synagogue?). I don’t believe in God (does that make me an Atheist?). I have a tattoo (a no-no for Jews). I married a gentile (non-Jew) and we are most likely not raising our children to be Jewish. Until last night, I had no clue when Passover even started this year (see picture above or this Instagram post – yes, I Googled it!).

Yet, later this evening, I will be hosting a traditional Passover Seder on this, the first night of Passover.

I know. It doesn’t all line up.

5 Reasons Why A Non-Practicing, Atheist Jew is Celebrating Passover This Year

So why am I celebrating Passover this year? Here are 5 reasons:

1. Tradition and Memories. I love traditions. Some of my fondest family memories growing up were around the High Holidays. We never were into the religious aspects of Judaism, but the holidays always brought the (extended) family together. We ate. We drank (Manischewitz Wine as kids). We had a great time. I want to start some traditions with our family of 4. I want to create memories.

2. Challenge and Sacrifice. I believe it’s important to challenge yourself every so often. One of the traditions of Passover – “keeping the Passover” as my mother used to call it – is that you don’t eat chametz (“leaven”):

any food that’s made of grain and water that have been allowed to ferment and “rise.” Bread, cereal, cake, cookies, pizza, pasta, and beer are blatant examples of chametz; but any food that contains grain or grain derivatives can be, and often is, chametz. Practically speaking, any processed food that is not certified “Kosher for Passover” may potentially include chametz ingredients.

Chabad.org

So, yes, this means I will “sacrifice” by not eating any of the above “blatant examples of chametz.” No bread. No cereal. No pasta. No … beer. Yikes! Truth be told, giving that stuff up for a week is likely going to make me healthier anyway. I can commit to that for a week, if not longer.

3. Fun and Unique. Eva just turned 3 two days ago. While Cal is a bit too young to appreciate Passover (he’s a week shy of 10 months), I’m pretty sure Eva will have fun with it. After all, she loved lighting the Channukah candles this past year. She even learned the entire prayer … in Hebrew. She’s smart.

4. Matzo and Wine. I actually like Matzo. Matzo with butter. Matzo Brie. In fact, with just a bit of digging, you can easily find 100 recipes using Matzo (Matzo-Palooza!). As someone who likes to cook, I kinda like the challenge and the chance to experiment a bit. Oh, and wine. You drink a lot of wine during Passover Seders (4 cups!).

5. Sharon and Ruth. Sharon is my mother. Ruth was her mother. Even though I’ve been resisting it, my mom continues to send cards for our children during the Jewish holidays. She sends gifts. This year, she sent a glass Seder Plate. It’s about time I used it. I know it will mean a ton to her. My grandmother (Ruth) was born on March 25th (today!). That just has a bit of extra … OOMPH. Know what I mean?

 

So … what other non-practicing, Atheist Jews will be joining me tonight? Give a shout out in the comments below.

Oh, and in case you are still wondering when Passover is this year … let me Google that for you.

DJ Waldow
Waldow Social
@djwaldow

12 comments

djwaldow
djwaldow

@stephanies Ha. Thanks Stephanie. Did you see my mom's comment? That was the best part of it. Brooklyn? Hmm. Haven't been there is YEARS!

rmiriam
rmiriam

@djwaldow Love it! I'm lame and don't have a seder to go to, but will keep Kosher for Passover for sure.

HKroft
HKroft

you two are killing me!  (a.k.a. I think this is beautiful)

I learned pretty much all I know about the Jewish faith/holidays, etc from being with you all.  I'm sure you will say that's probably not much, but it was a great start.  And I think what you are doing, DJ, is awesome.

We were fortunate enough to celebrate some Seders years back when the kids were small.   (at St. Martin's Lutheran Church, no less!  We had a really cool Pastor then, and it was awesome to experience this).  

Anyway, I read this, and it warmed my heart.  Blessings to you all this Passover.

sharondobkin60
sharondobkin60

I am ferklempt (which I have no idea how to spell) a Yiddish word that became famous on Saturday Night live when Mike Myers played the role of a Jewish woman.) haha. Like DJ, my son, I too am an athiest----not good or bad , just somone who could never embrace the concept of an all seeing, all knowing god.

My grandmoher, who I adored, was born out of wed-lock when my great grangmother (who I also loved very much) was only 16 years old. My Grandma Shirley was given to a Protestant family at age 2 when my great grandmother could no longer care for her. She lived with this loving family, who called her Dolly and took her to church on Sunday, until she was eleven years old. When her foster mother died, my great grandmother came and brought her home with her once again. My grandmother did not know unil that day, that the woman who visited her every weekend was her real mother. She went home with her to a world that she did not know. She had a new life, a new mother and father and she was poor and Jewish now living in a kosher home!

I was the oldest of 14 grandchildren and I had very special relaionship with my grandmother. She told me things about herself that even her five childrren never knew.....including this story. Every Easter, as far back as I can remember, she would say that she hoped it didn't rain on Easter Sunday. Really? Why did she care? My grandfather was Jewish as were my parents and all of my aunts, uncles and cousins. No church for us... no parade, no Easter bunny, or egg hunt or candy!!! Just a day when our gentile friends were having fun (and lots of chocolate) and couldn't play with us.

My moher wasn't religious but she loved the holidays and Passover was a big event in our home. After all, Passover is the Festival of Freedom..... a big thing for Jews! My grandchildren Tristan, Zoe, Sage and Layla.... and now maybe Eva and Cal, have an opportunity to celebrate in the exact same way that Jews all over the WORLD do... with traditions (over 5,000 years old), family, friends, food, stories and song and yes, wine.... lots of wine.

Today is my mother's birthday... how ironic! She adored DJ and she would read this blog religiously ....haha

Thank you DJ and Kristina.... you make my life fuller for embracing all hat life has to offer.

Happy Pesach and Happy Easter.