Puedo escribir los versos mas triste este noche.
I can write the saddest lines tonight.
I have the same feeling tonight. Whereas Pablo Neruda was expressing his adolescent longings for his lover, my sadness comes from the fact that I want to be with my mischpochah
Why is this night different from all other nights?
On my first European adventure, many moons ago, I was going to be in Rhodos during Pesach. I found out from research in printed matter of that time that there was a family Toledano of Turkish ancestry living in that island, I got in touch with them and requested to be present at the Seder. That was the time I realized that Sefardim can eat rice during the Pesach, whereas that pleasure is denied to the Ashkenazim.
So many Sederim, in so many countries, memorable ones with my dear friend Irena and her husband at their Coconut Grove house, each year the table graced by Jewish souls from various continents. Regardless of where I was in this planet, I made a point of being there.
A South African one with good friend Cecil, an Israeli one with Shimon, Australian ones and listening to the melodious Malayalam songs in Cochin during one Pesach.
Never have I forgotten the significance of this ritual and always marked my calendar.
One such morning in Baracoa, on the first day of Pesach, I was wondering where to get red wine and other things to celebrate the Pesach and I ended up with a lifelong friendship with Dr. Jesus Menendez, the cigar chomping revolutionary, who arranged all the necessary ingredients and I surrounded by a group of atheist Cubans, conducted a Seder in Baracoa, chanting the Sephardic melodies.
Another time, in Siem Reap. a good friend organized wine and chicken and rice while they sat around in a circle in wonder listening the stories of Pesach
I have spent this holiday with good friends and family all around the world, Portland with an exiled Iranian family, in La Havana where at the communal seder I met a certain Hallegua reminding him of the Hallegua families of Cochin, Corpus Christi with my dearest friends.. the list goes on and on.
Early this year, I noted the date for Pesach for this year and for the first time in my life it seems, I made the error of the dates. I put down Pesach 15 April. Last year I did a Seder for the first time in Bruselas and had to go to the Sephardi store to get the necessary things.
The last two months have been in places with hardly any Jewish presence. Kachin and Kayin, Khmer and Malay, Sundanese and Jawanese.. all the time keeping in mind that I have to be in Bruselas on the first night of the Pesach on the 15th of April, woe is me for not checking the date!
After a most delightful week with the Lakota I arrived at the house of my sister in Miami, who by the way is a devout Catholic but is very respectful of my leanings.
Earlier I had called the American Airlines, during this busiest time of travel in this part of this world, and organized to leave on the 14th April to arrive in time, before the sunset in Bruselas! My sister had already bought the necessary Matzoh for me to take to Bruselas...
Isnt Passover tomorrow night? my sister queried to my horror!
No, I insisted, Pesach starts on Tuesday.
You better check she said, then quoting that irrevocable authority, I heard it on CNN!
rushed to check the dates, Google of course puts other articles and useless information before giving you the dates and sure enough my sister was right, this year Pesach starts at the night fall of April 14th!
My brother in Portland confirms..
then it suddenly dawns upon me, unlike any other night, tomorrow night, I would be flying from Miami towards Madrid!
Just this time I am not enchanted about it!
I just want to be with my mishpochah, the Jewish world where I know who I am ..
While the entire world would be celebrating tomorrow and day after tomorrow evenings, I will sing the very same songs the night after that, so that the continuity is not lost, of this millennial tradition of Seder..
My brother would be listening to the Moroccan Melodies while the other one would be at the home of an Iranian Jewish family, I will think of the prayers at homes of friends in Melbourne, Cape Town and Buenos Aires..
Now a practical question, Do the serve Matzoh on American Airlines?