Passover in College

I have attended Passover seders for the past four years, and last year I didn’t consume any chametz (including leavened breads, oats, rice, corn and peanuts). But this year, I am going to be having my first real Passover complete with cleaning my apartment, selling my chametz, and conducting the search for chametz the day before Passover. While I have been anticipating Passover all year so I would be able to have a Passover more closely aligned with Jews around me, I have also been stressing over Passover for about the past month.

Living in a college apartment is not the same as having a Jewish home. The hardest part of the situation is that my roommate is not Jewish. While this does pose some issues for general kashrut (kosher) laws, it becomes much harder when the dietary laws become stricter over Passover. Also, having a college student budget does not allow for too much frivolous spending and lets face it, Passover is not a cheap holiday. In order to have a kosher kitchen for Passover you can’t use your ordinary dishes, pots, pans or utensils. Also, you need to get a whole new pantry full of food for 8 days.

After many weeks of stressing and running over scenarios in my head, I have found a non-ideal but practical solution to making it through Passover in my apartment. First, let me say it would be so much easier if I had a Jewish home to be in that already kept the mitzvot of Passover, but I can not invite myself to live with someone for eight days! But, if you have the option to help someone else prepare their home and stay with them, it would be a great way to learn and escape the issues of a roommate who doesn’t keep kosher for Passover. Now, my solution:

I am going to get rid of all the chametz (that I own) in my apartment, as well as clean the entire apartment (except my roommates room, which I never enter), car, and other possessions. During Passover, I will not use the kitchen at all since my roommate is going to continue to prepare food normally in there. We already discussed that for the week she will keep all food in the kitchen only. I will use a mini fridge set up in my room to keep all my food separate. Basically, all my food consist of for the week is raw fruits, (approved) raw veggies, and cheese approved for Passover. I also bought some prepackaged Passover junk food in order to keep my sweet (and salty) tooth at bay. I will use all paper goods for my food and won’t eat or take food outside of my room. I will drink still bottled water.

It is not perfect, but is what I see as a reasonable solution for Passover this year. Hopefully, next year I will be able to properly prepare and keep Passover in my home.

Dreaming of Kosher Food

A moment that made me feel like a Jew:

Last night, I had a dream that the candy Starburst suddenly became kosher. I was in the check out line at the grocery store when I saw the package now had a hechsher. I was so excited and grabbed a bunch. Then I ran to the breakfast cereal aisle to see if Lucky Charms were now kosher too. They weren’t, but I was still too excited about the Starburst to care much.

I woke up laughing about how crazy I was to be dreaming about candy becoming kosher. In dreams anything can happen, and in my dreams candy becomes kosher. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face thinking about how awesome a dream it was and how I could not possibly have had the same dream a few years ago, when I didn’t even know what a kosher symbol looked like.

Craving a Cheeseburger

Shavua Tov (Good Week).

Shabbat has just ended a few hours ago, and I am thrust back into time amid the final weeks of school. Papers need to be written, and I have more test to study for than I care to think about. It is especially in weeks like these that Shabbat becomes an even more beautiful and necessary part of my life. Shabbat has become a sustaining act in my life, and I hope that it will remain one as I continue to learn how to better guard and remember Shabbat throughout my life.

Shabbat is sacred, but even on Friday night and Saturday, as I try to be holier and closer to God, I am just an ordinary human. I had a wonderful Shabbat yesterday/today, but after shul this morning I couldn’t help but crave some non-kosher food. I had lunch earlier at shul and had prepared food for Shabbat, but all the restaurants I passed kept calling my name. I began to fantasize about stopping in for a cheeseburger or really any food that I haven’t had in a long time.It has been 3 years since I last ate pork, and yet sometimes I just want some pork ribs. It is not only non-kosher food that I sometimes miss. There are many things I am giving up by converting to Judaism. Even on the holiest day, sometimes I just want to go out with friends or watch t.v.

I can fool myself into thinking that all these craving will go away when I become Jewish, but I know better. Being Jewish will not suddenly make me forget how good some non-kosher food is. What is more important is trying to keep the mitzvot (commandments), even when its easier not to. I am not yet obligated by the mitzvot, but I know that becoming Jewish is a process and I should try to adhere by the mitzvot already.

So… I came home after shul to read, nap, and eat a vegan bean burger that I prepared ahead of time.