It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

But don’t mistake it with that other one.

The actual seder table I sit at each year on the first night of Passover.

Passover that is, not Christmas. Which is not to say that I don’t like Christmas because I do, but I have grown to love Passover or Pesach as it’s also known.

Passover is the holiday that celebrates the Israelite exodus from Egypt. After generations of slavery, Moses led them back to the land of Israel. It’s a time to remember Jewish history, honour the sacrifices of the Jews that came before us and think about the chains that we, as a society, still wear. While there is a serious aspect to this holiday, it is still very much another “They tried to kill us, we survived, now let’s eat!”-type of celebration too.

I just love everything about Passover. The long table at my fiance’s parents’ house that is arranged to accommodate lots of people, the bright tulips that usher in another spring, the familiar chatter of everyone as they find their places and the gefilte fish on my plate that seems to tease me as I sit hungrily through the pre-dinner rituals…

But perhaps the best thing about Passover for me is, with this being my third one, I now know what to expect during a seder. And, as someone who loves traditions, that is the best. This is not to say that I always know what’s going on, because there is a long list of very specific things to do, but I “get” the significance of the holiday and can even sort of sing along to my favourite Passover song Chad Gadya.

The best part is – I get to do it all over again for the second night of Passover!

Mo Mikvah Mo Problems

The biggest one being getting naked in front of the rabbi.

Not the mikvah that I’ll be going in but you get the idea. Photo: rose770, Flickr

Ok, so I’m not actually anticipating any major problems but there are some questions on my mind regarding the mikvah (ritual bath), which is the last step in my Jewish conversion.

How closely will I be looked over before my spiritual dip? (I’m not supposed to wear any makeup, nail polish, have contact lenses in and, oh yeah, I’m going to be buck naked.)

How will I feel being naked in front of the female rabbi? (I’m a bit of a prude.)

Will I be able to remember and recite the blessings?

And if not, will I be able to see them printed on the wall without my glasses?

While I think about these questions often – especially with my mikvah looming – I don’t let them cloud what I believe will be a beautiful, spiritual moment and an important life milestone. I’ve studied hard, embraced Judaism and am ready for this. My Jewish Information Class took a field trip to the mikvah the other day so now I know what to expect when it’s my turn.

The mikvah, locally shared by a number of Jewish congregations, is quite small so I only plan to have my fiance, his parents and my family there. Though I may be a little cold as I come out of the water, I know I’ll be radiating heat from a place deep within when it’s all over.

What was your mikvah experience like?