You know that anxiety that comes from hosting a dinner party? Pre-Passover in Jerusalem, and, for that matter, all of Israel, is a bit like that, but it’s more like an entire country is over-the-top and the panic extends to almost every Jewish family. Participating in the Passover traditions, such as seder night, is in the upper-90 percentage range among Israel’s Jewish population.

Lilacs in the Greek Colony

Wisteria in the Greek Colony

Crazy as it gets, there is plenty to appreciate. This photo essay is a look at the lead-in to the holiday. A cacophony of chores, rituals, awareness, and nature combine to make a symphony of anticipation.

There is no question that spring is in the air. With apologies to those in more intemperate climes, Jerusalem is all buds-a-bursting glorious with everything flowering.

Is it wisteria, or are they lilacs? They leave one gawking at buildings to enjoy this all too brief early spring treasure.

Wisteria in Nachlaot

Wisteria in Nachlaot

When the wisteria blooms.

And the aromas from the budding orange trees and other flowering fruit trees are a sensuous reminder to say the Nissan blessing.

Green New Almonds

Green New Almonds

When the almond trees go from blossoms to fuzzy soft-shelled green almonds.

Ritual Fringed Garments at the Laundramat

Ritual Fringed Garments at the Laundromat

When the laundry is airing out tzitzit (ritual fringes) by the dozen.

Cleaning Supplies Curbside

Cleaning Supplies Curbside

When the house-goods store is pushing cleaning supplies. And cookware as well.

Pasta Sale

Pasta Sale

When the pastas go on sale.

Free leavened foods for the taking

Free leavened foods for the taking

When you can’t even give away your extra flour products.

Not for Passover

Not for Passover

When the Israeli Rabbinate makes sure you know this place is not making the switch for the week.

No Leavened Foods Allowed

No Leavened Foods Allowed

When you can’t walk into a store, shop, home with your sandwich.

Mellow Yellows, Olive Greens

Mellow Yellows, Olive Greens

When the mustard grass turns a mellow yellow and the silvery olive trees dance between them.

Market Bag 2018 Collection

Market Bag 2018 Collection

When the new 2018 collection of shuk-schlep bags arrives (almost as exciting as Fashion Week for the locals).

The Garlic Has Arrived

The Garlic Has Arrived

When the entire market is redolent of fresh garlic. Might not be spring new wines, but we get excited about different things.

Greens in Abstract

Greens in Abstract

When green beans and fresh scallions form abstract sprawlings in the bastot.

Carton Street Art

Carton Street Art

When produce crates become live street art.

Matzot for Sale Everywhere

Matzot for Sale Everywhere

When matzot are available everywhere (not to be taken for granted out in the wider world).

Florists' Wares

Florists’ Wares

When the florists’ offerings bring spring right indoors.

Then it’s time to take your seat at the seder table.

Chag Passover Sameach to all who celebrate.

All images are © 2018 by Heddy Abramowitz

Previous blogs on my Passover ruminations can be found here, here, and here.