Passover and Easter for an Athiest
Posted by shannonclark on April 2, 2007
This year Passover and Easter week overlap, as is not uncommonly the case. For the past few days, my many Jewish friends have been making Passover plans – I’ve watched twitters from some friends on their way to Israel to celebrate Passover with family and friends, others as they have prepared brisket and observed slight cluelessness by local businesses. I’m sure that my Christian and Catholic friends have been making similar plans for Easter.
But this year, at least as of this afternoon, I have no plans for either holiday.
I should explain, if you haven’t been reading this blog for a long time or if you don’t know me well, though my name gives no hint of it (i.e. Shannon Clark), I am, in fact, Jewish. Could even emigrate to Israel if I ever wanted to – as my mother’s side of the family is Jewish. My father, on the other hand, is Roman Catholic (albeit of the science following, social justice, more left leaning branch).
Growing up I was raised Roman Catholic, even attended a Catholic elementary school for many years, though I was not confirmed so am not, by the Catholic Church’s standards a Catholic adult.
My Jewish identity was less emphasized, though every Christmas my sister and I did get Hanukkah Geld in our stockings, and besides learning to love bagels there was also plenty of Yiddish phrases used growing up (my grandfather’s first language though now long forgotten was Yiddish in fact). But I never did learn Hebrew, nor did I have a Bar Mitzvah. Though I did learn enough about the rules of kosher to help an Israeli friend in college who did not at that time cook much cook a Friday Shabbat dinner at the college Hillel.
When I am asked, on surveys or the like, about my religion I usually state Atheist if that is an option, or often Jewish if the survey is more about ethnic identity than religious practice. But somehow, though I am Jewish, my name does seem to make it easy for even my friends who are Jewish to forget that I am as well.
So this year as we enter into the Holidays for both of my family’s faiths, I find myself without either a Passover Seder or an Easter meal to attend. At the moment I plan on remaining here in San Francisco, a bit too last minute to fly back to Chicago (though I may check last minute deals and see about going for Easter weekend).
If I get ambitious I may see about inviting friends for a meal or two during the week. Any excuse to make lamb is a good one in my book, so that would be fun. And though a bit more challenging, Passover dishes if done well are very tasty as well (and I don’t even mind the lack of bread, good horseradish makes up for a lot in my book).
But if I’m not, then I’ll likely spend the week working on my new business and cleaning my apartment for the spring (I’ve always thought that the model of cleaning out your kitchen for Passover was a good one even if you don’t otherwise keep kosher – good excuse to go through your cabinets and fridge and clear out old stuff). I have lots of good books to read, a new laptop arriving tomorrow (hopefully) to configure and install my tools and data onto. In short plenty to keep me busy, if not in the company of friends, family and loved ones.