… is about to begin. Am I crazy? Yes, I am.
First things first. My Emily is coming! and not alone: with Renee and Renee’s roommate Corey! Fun. Fun fun fun. All-girl fun in Paris. Tonight: fondue and wine in baby bottles and TLC for your maitresse’s still very sad little soul.
Then tomorrow: the deluge. I had this great idea: it’s Passover in Paris and I’ve never thrown a seder before– why not start now? Complicating factors: I don’t know how to lead a seder, I’ve never done it before, I don’t have any of my Judaica in Paris with my (no kiddush cups or matzoh covers or haggadot), and I have a fairly small living room with limited seating. What’s more, I detest cooking meat, much less anything pesach-worthy like brisket or roasted chicken– and besides, I don’t have an oven.
So it’s a vegetarian seder. Cool. Lots of hummus and tzatziki and some concoctions with artichokes and eggplant will be present.
Then there’s the fact that the Jewish community in Paris is largely Sephardic. Which means all the pesach accoutrements I was able to find are a little non-traditional– or at least, not within my Ashkenazi tradition. So I will be featuring orange-flavorzed Matzoh a vin (sounds decadent) on my seder table. We’re veggie, remember, so instead of that nasty shank bone there will be a piece of radish or something. We’re feminists, so yes, we will have an orange proudly in the middle of the seder plate and we will be trying something called "Miriam’s Cup," to give the matriarchs some credit in the whole Exodus thing.
But– there is no horseradish to be found in all of Paris. Seriously. I looked in the Marais, in Belleville, and in my local supermarket. Nada. So in place of horseradish: mustard! I know. Ew. But horseradish and the mustard seed are vaguely related, and anyway shut up, it’s my seder.
As far as the haggadah goes– I’m basically just cutting and pasting stuff off the internet and handing out photocopies. Most of my guests are not Jewish, so they won’t know the difference, and my Jewish guests are not observant in the slightest. They’re just happy to be attending a seder!
Finally, there are the guests themselves. I have a habit of doing this in Paris, when I have parties– I feel like I know hardly anyone here, so on the couple of occasions where I’ve had get-togethers, I’ve invited almost everyone I do know, and ended up having way too many people. My birthday party in October took up two full rooms of a bar in the Marais. My housewarming, which began as an informal apero to which I did NOT invite everyone I knew, specifically to keep the numbers down, ended up spilling into all the rooms of my apartment.
The seder will be no different. Anxious to have those whom I care about in Paris around me, plus the people they care about, I already had an over-inflated list. Add to that my 3 visitors. Add to that a couple of random friends who I invited on the spur of the moment. Soon you have 15 people in a tiny little living room, sitting on the couch, the floor, and on the 3 chairs in the apartment.
Then there are the deletions, or the impossibles– the people who I want to be there, but who won’t be. The people I love more than anyone in the world– my parents and my sister– are too far away. My extended Jewish side of the family, who I adore, also in New York (even the ones who live in London). My ex, who I spent every passover with for the last 4 years, obviously won’t be there (the ex-factor as well as the NY factor). Finally, there’s my most recent ex, J, who I wanted to come so badly, but who has to work an event that night (obviously; thus the breakup). How can you reconcile the pain of the absences when there are so many presences? There’s nothing I can do about that, except think of the people I miss and send them warm happy passover vibes.
I really don’t know what we’re going to eat for dinner, though. I’ve declared this a Sephardic zone, so there will be couscous involved, as well as something with tofu that Kaitlin promised to make. But I spent 70 euros on groceries and dessert– and I still feel like there won’t be enough food. Oy, oy, oy!
Chag sameyach, les enfants!