It is customary in Israeli hi-tech companies for employees to receive a bonus or a gift at chagim. At HPE, you were given a choice of gifts, or you could opt for the default option of a gift token worth several hundred shekels. Come the time, an email went round, and you collected your gift or token.
My new employers are a privately owned company, and they do things slightly differently.
Last week, a message went round that the owner would be coming to distribute the Pesach gift tokens. And so he did, taking his time to come round everyone, handing over the token, and offering Pesach greetings. (I had seen him around the office, but this was teh first time I had met and spoken to him.) It took him a while to complete the job, but he obviously thought it was worth doing. I thought it was a nice touch that he took that time and trouble. So, well done that man.
Oh, and in addition, we each received a Pesach gift box of wine and chocolates. Very nice, indeed. Two nice touches!
Finally, because I am unsure when I will get time to blog again, Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach! Pesach is on its way.
So what did Susan and I get up to on Pesach?
On the games front, I played some ASL with Ran, some Ticket to Ride with Susan and Lori, and some Battle Lines with Lori.
On the reading front, I finished one novel, and three history books. Susan finished at least two novels.
On the wedding front, I did some wedding dress shopping with Sarah-Lee (and managed not to cry). Susan did a bit more than that. The hot news is that I believe a final decision has been made.
On the family front, we had a great Seder with the Horesh crew and Hannah, and a Pesach Picnic and Tour. And we met up with Jonathan and Ann, and most of their crew.
On the exercise front, we managed two trips to the gym, and a couple of long bike rides to the Tel Aviv port and back.
We had a couple of barbecues, and ate too much meat.
I went to shul a few times. (By Shabbat, you could sense that people had had enough!)
Oh, it’s good to be back to a normal week to week routine.
With Pesach on its way, here’s some alternative reading about one of the themes of the chag. It’s from a 2014 essay by Steven Lee Beeber, on the Fathom site:
When I was writing my book about the Jewish origins of punk, The Heebie-Jeebies at CBGB’s, I referred to Lou Reed as both the Alter Kocker (old fart) Indie Rocker and the Zayde (grandfather) of the movement. I still believe these titles fit the man, but in the wake of his recent death, I have come to see that he is deserving of a third. Like the figure in the Passover Seder that he played annually in public, Reed was the Wise Child. Unlike his brothers, the Wicked Child, the Simple Child, and the One Unable to Ask, he saw both the tragedy and triumph of Jewish history.
It wasn’t always that way.
Read it all, here. Lou Reed’s Jewish strand is the subject of this 2013 post of mine.
Pesach is coming, and Susan has Operation Pesach Preparation well under control: changing dishes, cleaning and tidying, more cleaning and tidying, menu planning, food buying, more food buying, and so on. It’s all going according to clockwork.
For example, last night was penciled in as Matza Night.
What’s that, you ask? That’s when the Matza Man is supposed to deliver the matza.
And did he deliver the matza? Oh yes:
That’s serious matza.
Do you want to know how serious? Check out how many hechsher stickers you can spot on the box bottom:
If that bunch aren’t acceptable, we are in real trouble!
The minute Purim is over, all thoughts turn towards
the start of the baseball season Pesach. For example, we now look at food in the house with an appraising eye as to whether we can use it up before Pesach.
And in the office, there’s a different type of appraisal, as we consider whether project deadlines mean there will need to be work done on the intermediary days (chol hamoed) of the festival.
On the plus side, the tradition in the office (like many in the sector) is to mark the festival with a bonus or suitable gift. Last year, I took the bonus by way of tokens, as none of the gifts on offer were of interest. So, here’s your starter question for ten points: what unsuitable gift is the one I have chosen this year?
Don’t puzzle for too long. Here it is:
B…b…but that’s for making b…
Yes, it’s a bread making machine. Yes, it’s a gift for Pesach. No, I don’t quite understand it. I just know I am going to have to pack it away for use after the chag!
In the orthodox Jewish way of life, on the morning before Pesach, the practice is to burn all the chametz found during the search in the home, and everything left over from breakfast. In Ra’anana (as above), and indeed throughout Israel, there are several public fires – monitored and secured – to accommodate the practice.
The blessing is:
“All leaven or anything leavened which is in my possession, whether I have seen it or not, whether I have observed it or not, whether I have removed it or not, shall be considered nullified and ownerless as the dust of the earth.”
Fresh Co supermarkets haven’t quite got the whole Passover thing right:
Passover: the festival of toilet roll and bacon. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
[Seen at BlazingCatFur, as tipped off by Elder of Ziyon.]
Click the graphic for the full review
We are proud owners of the first edition. It’s a terrific Haggadah that will enhance the seder night experience. Highly recommended. See here.
That’s it over for another year. All the Pesach dishes, cutlery, pots, and pans are now packed up and back in storage. Well done Team Simpson – especially Susan.
Now, where’s the chametz?