Zelda Harris
Five on the 100 aliyah from UK list!

Tonight will be different

“Moses had reminded his people that they had to leave in a hurry, and that their bread would not have time to rise”

Well no one is in a hurry tonight they will take it slowly,slowly, some will send out spiritual greetings other will have a zoom seder with their families. Apart from loved ones who maybe are in hospitals all over the land?

It’s interesting what they say about bread rising. In those days as it is obvious from the SHMURA Matzo which is round like pitta or rather laffa, bread was not in anyway like that which we in the West identify with.

It was only when I went to my first trip to Sinai and sat in a Beduin tent and watched a woman making pitta on a “saje”that I got the picture.

So maybe someone can put me straight on that one?

One of the more memorable Seder nights we had was more than ten years ago when my dear husband Leon was alive. We had spent the festive occasion with my daughter- in -law Vivi’s sister Rachel and family in Ramle. The Strul family is large and very warm and we were always included.Even when my mother and stepfather finally joined us in Israel,they too became an integral part of that  family.

On this particular night however. it was us and Zainie our Philipino carer. The Seder was spirited and enjoyable  conducted by  host Shlomo with Vivi as a side kick, in case he forgot anything! There was maximum participation from the kids when we remembered the plagues.Lots of drops of wine shaken all over the Siddurim and the gleaming white tablecloth!

When it became time to depart for Netanya where we lived, Leon said as he always did on Hagim “It will take us forever so we had better get going,its amazing how many people are travelling especially since those who are observant, are not! ”

I drove at a reasonable pace until we got to Route 4 not far from the turn- off for Kfar Saba There  we had no choice but to join a total traffic jam which stretched further than any eye could see.

We stopped. I got out of the car to see if there was a reason. Had there been a road accident? No one could answer. I went back to the car and turned on the radio, there was only music.

So we sat. My husband Leon was an invalid and for him journeys were unpleasant at all times, but this time there seem to be no end.

Finally the traffic started to crawl and we looked for a side road that might bring us home .

It was only later that night or early in the morning after a few hours sleep, that we heard that there had been  “suspected terrorists” or that was what someone had reported. In fact we never found out the whole story. It may have started as a suspicion that a car was seen that did not have  Passover revellers’ in it?  I saw that a car had been pulled over but it was empty! Malicious maybe or cautious, we will never know. I only know that it took us over 5 hours to get back home from Ramle.

So on this night there will be no traffic jams, maybe Zoom jams if the system  becomes overloaded?

Some of my most treasured friends called today to say “Hag Sameach” and now I am off to burn my symbolic slice of chomets- bread!

Hag Sameach to all and may peace come with Easter and Ramadan and anything one believes in at this time, but most importantly for us on this precious land.

I must end with an expression of  heartfelt thanks and admiration for all those whose Festival may be only be spent in the service and care for others. That includes the hospitals,the army,the police,  MDA and Hatsolah. That includes Sami and his wife Avital who run the grocery next to my home who have been more than dedicated.

Hag Sameach and love to all human beings and to the animals, the birds in the trees outside my window and the environment in general. At the end of the day Corona..the CROWN has taught us that there’s ‘no difference under the sun’!

About the Author
Zelda Harris first came to Israel 1949, aged 18. After living through the hardships of the nascent state, she returned to England in 1966. She was a founding member of the Women's Campaign for Soviet Jewry. In 1978, she returned with her family to Israel and has been active in various spheres of Israeli Society since. Together with the late Chaim Herzog, she founded CCC for Electoral Reform, was the Director of BIPAC in Israel, and a co-founder of Metuna, the Organisation for Road Safety, which received the Speaker of Knesset Quality of Life Award for saving lives on the roads and prevention of serious injury. She is now a peace activist, blogger for Times of Israel and is writing her life story.