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3/25/13: A Very Sephardic Passover! Le’Chaim!

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An Ashkenaz in a sea of Sepharadim… That is exactly the best way to describe the Seder of Stephane’s family that I attended on the first night of the Passover holiday. It was like no Seder I have ever attended before, it was loud, crazy, tons of people, and one of the most fun nights I have had in Israel so far. Stephane’s Grandmother and Grandfather (who usually reside in the city of Ashdod), are awaiting their new apartment to be built, and are currently living in a temporary house on some Kfar (village) right outside of Ashdod, where we would all travel to partake in the Seder with them and most of the family. It felt mildly like we were traveling into the middle of nowhere (well actually most placed that aren’t Tel Aviv are the middle of nowhere in my mind ;-p), but it was a great atmosphere once we arrived.

When we entered the house many of Stephane’s aunts were already working hard preparing the food and making ready the table for the celebration. Cousins were running in and out, babies were everywhere (this is no exaggeration, between Stephane’s aunts who are still having babies, and the children of Stephane’s aunts who are having babies, there are A LOT of babies at his family events), it was a mini balagan, but It was amazing being in such a vibrant setting. After about 30 minutes of schmoozing with everyone it was time to begin the Seder. Before we event started reading out of the Haggadah (book of the Passover Seder), one of Stephane’s aunts was going to everyone in the room, and waving a basket over their heads while simultaneously doing the Arabic “la la la la la” screamy thing (yes, that was the most eloquent way I know how to describe what she did). Apparently it is supposed to be for good look, and I thought it was a rather exciting way to begin the Seder.

Once that little ceremony was over it was time to begin. Stephane’s uncle and grandfather started reading out of the Haggadah a million miles a minute, everyone was yelling and singing, food was being given out everywhere, kids were running wild, it was mayhem and madness, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Stephane explained that usually his Seders are a bit more orderly, but this was just as fun. We were laughing and joking, drinking and eating, and having a great time with family! I was even tricked into eating tongue, which is actually really delicious once you get past thinking about what you are actually ingesting. Who could have asked for a more wonderful holiday! I just wish my family could have been there as well.

After the Seder we decided to spend the night in Ashdod since we would be participating in a family BBQ the next day anyways. We went to Stephane’s cousin’s beautiful home, settled in for the night, and then woke up bright and early the next day for a delicious BBQ. We stayed at the home of my favorite of Stephane’s cousins (I call him my darling) so it was very enjoyable to have my #1 and #2 Assoulin (the family name of Stephane’s mother’s family) for the holiday! After 2 days of non stop eating, probably gaining 500 pounds, and celebrating the holiday to the best of our abilities, it was time to head back to Tel Aviv!

In other exciting news, I was told at my job that I was being promoted to a manager position… After only a month of working for the company!! I do work very hard and it was so nice to be recognized for my work, and given such a treat as a promotion! Month one I was fortunate enough to get employee of the month, month 2 I was told I was being promoted to a manager… Let’s see what month 3 brings! I’m still loving my job, loving Israel, loving life, and living every moment to the fullest! Things could not be better and I continue to thank God everyday for the blessed life I have here. Stephane is wonderful and every day he surprises me with how considerate, kind, amazing, and special he is, and he makes my already blessed and happy life even better! In fact, tonight, for no reason at all, and totally out of the blue, he surprised me with a GORGEOUS present just because he wanted to give me a treat. He bought me the most beautiful, vintage, sterling silver and gold ring that fits my taste absolutely 100%. Don’t worry family we are not engaged (yet), so we will just call this my “promise” ring bling! It is stunning and was such a surprise. My man’s got pretty amazing taste!

My beautiful present from my baby

My beautiful present from my baby

Now I will work the next few days, pick up some good overtime/holiday pay, and then I get to look forward to ending Passover with a huge Moroccan celebration called Mimouna, which will signal the end of the holiday and the return to eating normal food that doesn’t constipate you… Sorry for the too much information but that Matzah is a killer on the stomach! I promise to take more pictures at Mimouna to really give everyone a good idea of what I experience at these Fitoussi family events!

Until we meet again <3,

Jordana Simone

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