By Lara Nicolson
Coordinator PJ Library Baltimore
Louise D. & Morton J. Macks Center for Jewish Education
Passover (also known as Chag Ha’aviv or the spring holiday) is traditionally a time for spring cleaning as we remove Chametz (leaven bread) from our homes before the Seders.
This year, as I think about Passover, my family’s focus will be on cleaning the physical and spiritual aspects of our lives. It has been a long winter and even though it was a great time for the family to hang out together — playing ping-pong, musical instruments or Xbox — we have let some piles of paper, photos and untouched DIY projects pile up. Spiritually, we have been so busy with work and school that we haven’t had time for being with our extended family or community and Passover will be a good opportunity to connect again.
I asked my colleagues at the Center for Jewish Education (CJE) what goals they had for the new season. There were plans for physical cleansing, including diets, basement clean outs and bringing color to gardens. Spiritually, some were excited to have their college-age children home for spring break and to share the Seder table with family. One person was excited for her daughter’s first Ma Nishtana (the Four Questions).
PJ Library offers some wonderful ideas and tips on how you can tackle spring cleaning with your children. At the same, time, you can laugh together when you read Izzy the Whiz and the Passover McClean, a terrific book about Izzy, who invents a cleaning machine that causes havoc in his home before Pesach. You can also join CHAI and do a double mitzvah on April 14 at Pimlico Race Course by donating your Chametz and feeding the hungry.
Despite all my good intentions, I know that my husband and children don’t notice the clutter or cookie crumbs in our home, but rather they value the time I spend hunting for our traditional Seder gimmicks, making chocolate matzah, and practicing songs from the Haggadah. Mayim Bialik, also blogged on Kveller about how she was going to simplify her Passover by giving herself a break on all the obsessing and stressful family relations and focusing on the quality time with her family.
I hope that you will be able to find the balance between spring cleaning fever and making new Pesach memories for your family, how about starting with a Seder that inspires even the youngest to stay awake to tell stories and sing all night.