Social Media Inspires New Passover Traditions



Passover! The word strikes terror in the hearts of many. What will I eat? What–no bread? And how will I get through the (boring) Seder?

I love Passover. For one thing, my house is the cleanest it gets all year. Silver gets polished, tablecloths ironed, and the refrigerator and stove are scrubbed. For another, I pull out all of the old family recipes–chicken soup, brisket, and charoses. The house smells wonderful!

I have hosted the Seder for almost all of my adult life, starting in my earliest years as a bride, when I didn’t  know you had to defrost the turkey before you roasted it, and I discovered that my mother’s wonderful “only-served-at-the-Seder “ carrot soufflé recipe ALWAYS had regular flour in it, not matzah cake meal.

Over the years, I have tried new foods in my Seder and Passover repertoire, mostly from cookbooks purchased in the fervent hope that I could persuade my husband and children to love Passover as much as I do. A few attempts were successful, but most were greeted with skepticism and damned with faint praise, “Good try, mom” and “Honey, this is all right… for Passover.” I have added a skit to replace the text of the story, and kept those wine cups filled.  None of these things made my family love Passover as much as I do.

Until this year. This year I found a new source for recipes, Seder table decorations, and even a couple of new Seder traditions. Through the amazing place that is social media, specifically Facebook,  I connected with WRJ friends from across North America in the days leading up to Passover. I learned a couple of new tricks for making matzah balls light and fluffy (although my sweet husband likes the cannon ball variety, I think), added  some costume ideas to the finger puppets already strewn across my tables, found out that you could make gluten-free salmon “gefilte” fish, and that one recipe for a peach kugel could go viral in all of about 30 minutes.

For many of us, WRJ is THE volunteer activity in our lives. For some, the work of WRJ can seem daunting on a daily basis–planning meetings, making phone calls, increasing membership and fundraising so that we can make the contributions to our synagogue and community–and even frustrating at times.

The other night, as I ate my most favorite post-Passover meal, pizza, I reflected on the magic of WRJ. Though none of us was in the same city, all of us were celebrating the same holiday. Each post, each response, was thoughtful, funny, or bittersweet. We ARE the women of Reform Judaism, bound together by the threads of our shared heritage and deep and abiding love and respect for each other. Even miles apart, we stand together, supporting one another.

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fredi Bleeker Franks

About fredi Bleeker Franks

fredi Bleek Franks is the WRJ Vice President of Affiliate Services and a member of Congregation Emanu El in Houston, TX.

One Response to “Social Media Inspires New Passover Traditions”

  1. Rosanne M. Selfon

    fredi -I loved reading your feelings and thoughts about Passover. Like you, it is my super, most favorite holiday! I love the smells in the house, the craziness of getting everybody at the table and then getting them to be quiet, the kids scurrying to find the afikomen, and watching their faces when they see Elijah’s cup has emptied. It is very special to know we were all celebrating at the same time! And, tell your hubby -light, fluffy matzah balls rule! Love, rosanne

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