Our first Pesach in Amsterdam

There were matzah balls and brisket, and just the four of us celebrating our story of freedom, while sitting in lockdown. This was our first Pesach in Amsterdam, and our second major Jewish holiday. The traditions remain the same, but it feels strange and sometimes unsettling to be so far away from all the known – family, our old shul and even the kosher deli from where we used to get our traditional fare.

While matzah and matzah meal (for the matzah balls) were in large supply at our nearest supermarket, I had to try find the closest brisket and a ready-prepared Pesach plate with all the symbolic items that I’m always too lazy to source myself. Once those were taken of (thanks to my community Facebook group for providing the info) I started planning what I would make, and if I could find/understand all the ingredients. It’s a fairly simple thing, I know, and this city and its things are relatively easy to navigate. However, sometimes I’m intimidated and don’t want to ask, so I won’t, and will try to figure things out for myself, or go to a plan B (like using vegetable oil instead of shmaltz for the matzah balls because I couldn’t find any shmaltz. Maybe next year that will be my next big question to the Facebook group).

This year, I thought deeper about the kinds of Pesachs I used to have as a child – big family seders at my grandparents’ house where my grandpa would lead the service. My gran used to write out the seating name place cards, and I remember when I was old enough to do this for her – what a highlight and thrill this was for seven-year-old Tanya. I remember all the songs we sung, and I still marvel that the same tunes my grandparents were raised with are the ones my kids are learning at their school. Of all the holidays, Pesach is usually the one that brings up the most memories, and makes me miss my family the most.

                                                                          Dodgy orange curtains cast an orange spell on everything


                                                         This was Pesach last year – how little and yet how much things have changed


We are going away this weekend (with our matzah packed) and it’s the first getaway I’ve had since February (unless you count emigrating in July a “getaway”?). We’re taking our bikes and will be by the beach, and even though it’s not typical beach weather this weekend, I’m looking forward to a change of scenery.

Amsterdam is so pretty at the moment, and while we’re not yet at the “I’m taking the winter jackets to be laundered” stage, I feel we’ve turned the corner.

Here are some pics from two of my runs this week – one during the day (lunchtime), and one before 8am. Our clocks have moved forward, so we’re loving the longer evenings, though our toddler still doesn’t believe that it’s nighttime when it’s still light outside!

Have a great weekend, and a happy Easter to those celebrating.

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