“Why is this night different from all other nights?”
Because of the moment when we hear Chad Gadya and Dayenu as adults and are instantly transported back to our childhood, probably at the home of our grandparents and in the company of beloved relatives, some of whom are perhaps no longer with us.
My seder nights of the past were dominated by my older cousins. As the youngest child of the youngest child, I was still in school long after my cousins had graduated from university and were already well into their careers. The eldest, Robert, was an extremely clever chap and a very hard act to follow.
He was working as a speech writer for Len Murray, the then General Secretary of the TUC. Needless to say, we were all happy to leave the afikoman negotiation to Robert; he always put up a very good argument and inevitably secured all the cousins an extremely good reward for its safe return. Of course, I’m not the only one with memories…
With his retail store in Borehamwood, Lawrence Judaica, Zalmy Lawrence offers customers an insight into the future of Judaica with the emphasis on innovation and new look modern design. But when it comes to Passover, his best memories are firmly fixed in the past.
“When I was young, I always loved Passover. My whole family would gather together and we would all have so much fun at the seder.
“I remember getting a Ma Nishtana present and going on trips – the best trip was to Legoland. We always had really good food; everything was freshly cooked, my mum baked cakes and we used to make banana ice lollies by cutting them in half, putting a stick inside and freezing them – delicious! We still celebrate this way, nothing has changed except that
I am older now.”
LAURA COWAN is a British Judaica designer who now lives in Israel. For Laura (pictured, middle, with her brothers Robert and Ed), it is the taste of Pesach that is
“My favourite memories are of my grandparents. When I grew up, we had a very traditional seder night. It was the highlight of the year for my grandpa, and he read and sung every word of the Haggadah with such intensity and vibrancy, that I’ve been looking for a seder like it ever since.
“Every year, my grandma used to say with a smile on her face: “David, not so loud, you’ll disturb the neighbours”. He also led a seder night in the barracks during his service in the Second World War.
“My grandma’s eingemachtes (beetroot jam) was legendary, and she used to make jars and jars. One spoon of this sends me right back to my childhood. I would have thick layers of it on matzah for breakfast and eat it out of the jar when no one was looking.
“If you haven’t tasted it before, I can imagine your hesitation, but it’s amazing. Cinnamon, lemon and ginger give it a fantastic sweet and spicy kick. The secret is to slow cook the beetroots until all the redness is gone and it becomes brown and sweet. You need to start the preparations a day in advance. It’s time consuming. And it stains your hands. And your clothes. It’s a labour of love.”