Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In which my Jewish geekiness emerges

I'm home! I'm home on break! Been home for a few days, in fact, so you'd think I'd be hitting the "post" screen nonstop with all the pent-up updating I have in me. But no, suddenly when I was home all day with all this lovely expanse of free time ahead of me with nothing to do but take care of MG (which as the at-home parents among you know, is not quite nothing, but on the other hand she's on the far side of five and quite capable of wiping her own butt, not to mention entertaining herself for hours in her room with her gazillions of tiny plastic objects and the new smelly markers we just gave her to pacify her about something)--where was I? Oh, right, nothing to do but post.

And yet...suddenly, the second the pressure of work was off me, I lost my compulsion to scurry to the computer at every free moment (and admittedly at some moments that are not quite free). Not that I didn't check in, but not in quite such a compulsive way. Zees tells us, I sink, that I have to do something about how bored I am wiss my regular life, no? I think Rachel is onto something and you have to have something going on besides the routines of life (and, in my case, the routines of work, at a job I (mostly) love but which I have nonetheless been doing for EIGHT YEARS, which is longer than I've ever done anything and is I think--shhh! Don't tell them at work!--quite long enough for me). Blogging is for me that Something. But it turns out that when I have time and space to think I have room for other things that feel bigger.

Want to know what I was doing all day yesterday so absorbedly while MG was playing (or procrastinating on cleaning her room, which comes to the same thing)? I was WRITING A HAGGADAH! For just five people. Us, and the mom-and-daughter duo who are coming over on Thursday. I'm not linking to it because I swiped tons of things from other sources (including this wonderful one by the Velveteen Rabbi) and didn't credit them properly, but just about all the English verbiage (besides the translations of standard prayers) is mine.

I cut it down to the bare bones, didn't put in almost any of the lovely philosophical or political stuff I wanted to, and left out a ton of the traditional filler: the Four Sons and all that nattering about the rabbis staying up all night studying and the Kabbalistic yammer about exactly how many miracles were performed, et al. After all, the intended consumers for all this are two five-year-old girls, one of which has practically no Jewish background; one bemused non-Jew (RW); one grownup who's technically Jewish but whose main experience of that is a few dimly-remembered seders from her own childhood; and me. So, not too much on-and-on; we need to cut to the chase. On the other hand, I didn't want to leave out any of the important stuff, like the story itself and the fun things they might remember in fifteen years when it occurs to them that they're in college (or wherever) three thousand miles from home and seders are no longer grownup things that they're dragged to but something they might just possibly miss and want to put together on their own. The future of the Jewish people rests in my frantically cutting-and-pasting hands!

I knew I'd gone over the edge when, last night after our Internet turned into a pumpkin at 10:30, I stayed up for another hour or so reformatting the whole thing into Landscape with two columns, so I could make it into a booklet instead of an 8x11 photocopied packet.

Okay. Gotta go. Pages to order, clip-art to swipe, that kind of thing.

(And did I mention all the cooking and cleaning and calling-of-the-dentist and stuff that I'm managing not to do while absorbed in this project? No? Hmm, guess not.)


Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

I'm a little jealous. We've got two family seders to go to, and I'm sort of over the usual Reform haggadah.

I suppose it's bad form to inquire more about getting bored with your job. I'm trying to decide if a similar job is what I should be thinking about once the kids start school in a few years. But would I be bored with it quickly?

11:26 AM  
Blogger susan said...

I can see why you don't want to link to your haggadah, but inquiring minds want to know more! Like what you think are the really fun parts and any particular fun-for-five-year-olds you've got in there. For the toddler seder we're co-hosting, we're going to use A Night of Questions (the reconstructionist hagaddah) as an outline, but I'm still working on some of the kid activities for the afternoon.

Writing is fun, isn't it?

12:11 PM  
Anonymous peripateticpolarbear said...

I think a haggadah for 5 year olds is a really good use of time! How cool! Wish I could read it.

2:12 PM  
Blogger liz said...

Could I buy a copy? I need to introduce my four-year-old to Passover and...well...the ones I found all suck.

9:26 PM  
Anonymous Genevieve said...

Sounds SO cool! I'd love to see the one you've done. Or at least excerpts.

Our activities for five-year-olds and around there include:

-gathering in the living room for the pre-dinner portion of the Seder, so the little ones aren't stuck in their seats and we don't spend all our time asking them to sit back down;

-floating a wrapped-up baby doll in a basket on a blue silkie (to represent the Nile), and the big girl of the group follows along to make sure her "baby brother" is OK and finds someone to take care of him, and gets his mom hired as a nurse;

-tossing out toys to represent most of the plagues (every frog toy in the house, including Kermit; every cow toy in the house, which we tip over; jungle animals for wild beasts; bug toys; maracas for hail; sunglasses for darkness) - we generally skip blood and definitely the last plague;

-putting on backpacks and walking through the house, to represent wandering in the desert with all our belongings and matzah on our backs;

-crossing the Red Sea (the blue silkie again) and dancing with tambourines on the other side;

-little afikomen presents for all the kids, so it doesn't turn into tears

7:09 AM  
Blogger That Girl said...

Maybe you already read this, but i thought it was really cute...


Happy Passover!

3:58 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

So can you save it as a PDF and upload it somewhere? Because I wanna see it! and so does the rest of the net!

you can stick it on my server if you want space.

4:17 PM  
Anonymous badgermama said...

That was me.

4:18 PM  
Anonymous anybloch said...

I understand your need to make your own Haggadah. I am doing the same thing for my mother's seder with 35 people, 6 of them 5 yrs old or younger. I think I'm not going to get to sleep b4 Monday night just to get this done!!!

6:44 PM  

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