Passover in Short

Passover is another excuse for Jews to clean the crap out of their houses, gather, drink many bottles of red wine,  and eat copious amounts of food. We sit around the table with family, friends, and occasionally strangers to remember the hard history the Jewish people have gone through.

Our people were enslaved by Egyptians and Moses came and said some stuff and crazy stuff happened and we got away. However, in our escape we didn’t have time for our bread to bake properly so we carried the bread upon our backs and they never leavened. Hence Matzah/Matzo. Let me save you the hassle of trying this… stuff. You know saltine crackers? Take away the salt. Now imagine not having water to wash it down…but your mouth is already dry…you know that mushy feeling where it gets soft and impossible to swallow? Yeah.. that’s matzah. For 8 days (ish). Le sigh. Did I mention all of the other dietary restrictions for that week?

Anyway, some kids ask questions and we drink a lot of wine and we listen to the answers go on for a while. Then we sing in Hebrew and drink more wine. At some point we recall the 10 Plagues (extra wine if you remember them all in order!). We discuss the plate of food and all that is symbolizes. . . mostly the bitter herb…because we’re a bitter people. In case you hadn’t noticed, Jews have been getting the short end of the stick for thousands of years. (It’s worth it because we’re the Chosen People).

You think your Catholic mother can give a guilt trip? You haven’t met my grandmother. Seriously, the Jews are more stubborn than any group of people I have ever encountered. I got a tattoo of an Egyptian hieroglyph and when I showed my grandmother, her response was literally, “They Egyptians enslaved our People and you go and get a tattoo symbolizing Egypt??” ((First, Jews aren’t supposed to embellish their bodies in any way. Second, that was, like, thousands of years ago!))… I guess that’s why I’m always the ‘Wicked Child’. DAMNIT. (((((((for reference, the four children asking questions are Wise, Wicked, Simple, and the kid who doesn’t yet know how to ask questions)))))).

Anyway, wine is consumed, we recline to the left, we sing, we remember… as my family likes to put it: “We Fought, We Won, Let’s Eat!”

 ***Please don’t hate me for writing this, my uber-Jew friends!***

In the uber-religious seders, this is a very very long process. Literally, it doesn’t start until sundown and then it’s hours before you get to eat and then more hours of praying.

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Holiday Show Happiness

"Mai" a student dressed in MJ garb

“Mai” a student dressed in MJ garb

In August, our manager informed us of a ‘holiday’ party in December that we were expected to perform at. Cue: Collective groan. Then she told us we needed to prepare our students for a performance as well.

I played a few songs for my P3 class (7-8 y/o) including the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, and India Arie. Apparently this was NOT cool. They wanted Lady Gaga. I scoffed because we had just gone over ‘Like/Dislike’ and in my ‘Dislike’ category I had written Lady Gaga. Then it hit me: Michael Jackson.  The students were familiar with the name and enjoyed rockin’ out to his music during dance time.

So we played lots of MJ songs until I  we collectively decided on singing “man in the mirror”. We started rehearsals immediately. I taught the students the words and we sang a few times a week at the beginning of class. They loved it. I loved it.

After they learned the lyrics I choreographed a fairly complicated easy dance for them. They caught on quickly. I caught on to the few that were not coordinated and put them in the back – as any good drama geek turned teacher would do.
We rehearsed with the other half of the class that another teacher taught. Without sounding too cocky – my class was WAAYYY better than hers.  they were all very good.

December came along and we gave them the outline for their outfits:
Black button down/zipped shirt with long sleeves
white t-shirt
black pants
white socks
black shoes
fedora

Students were bringing in amazing outfits to put together. I realized that there were 2 key element being forgotten about 2 weeks before the performance: the sparkly glove. No MJ performance would be complete without it!! So they brought gloves and we decorated it with the devil glitter. Also, they needed to know how to moonwalk! So they practiced moonwalking down the hallways for about 30 minutes. Not an easy task. But HILARIOUS to watch.

Our director loves me and came to watch the students perform a couple times. She loved it. I loved it. We all loved it.

Holiday-show-day was upon us. I walked into the GIANT convention hall and saw the itsy bitsy stage the students were to perform on. All i could think: “SHhhhiiiiiit. Someone’s going to fall off stage.” But then I saw their adorable little faces in the brilliant collection of MJ style costumes and no longer cared. For a few hours, I filled the room with Thai MJ impersonators.  No MJ fan could have been happier.
The performance itself was good. Not great.
Reason 1: No microphones. They took away the microphones because there was no room for it. So you couldn’t hear a damned word they said
Reason 2: The kids were so afraid of ruining their precious glittered gloves that they didn’t actually clap. They fake clapped! ((Insert: SMH))

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On a side note: the girls of my P3 class decided to sing “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. Of course when I say “decided” I actually mean our Thai director told me they were going to perform it. They dressed like divas and threw roses into the audience after the performance. They did a fantastic job.

I’m uploading the videos to youtube so you can see the performances at the show and the ones from their classroom (which are WAY better!!)

The P3 girls and the solo sax player

The P3 girls and the solo sax player

The singers after the performance

The singers after the performance

Little MJs

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