Yes, but I am not. There, I said it. I do not believe that because I married a Sephard (Spanish-Portugese), I lose my Ashkenz (Eastern European) roots. I have adopted many things over the years, but some I do not want to give up. I light candles like an Ashkenazi woman, and I celebrate Pesach like one. I mentioned previously the importance of my grandfather’s influence in my life – and Pesach was the premier holiday of that.
I would go to my grandparents home in the morning before first sedar and spend the day cooking, cleaning, setting the table, and learning about the family and traditions. The last time I spent with my grandfather was a Pesach meal. My grandfather died on the 5th day of Pesach. With this knowledge, is it surprising that I don’t want to let go? Never the less, marriage is about starting a new family and making compromises in traditions, so we do.
Every day is an adventure in blending our traditions, and Pesach is no different. While we’ve done it before, this is the first year doing it as husband and wife and the first year where we will be hosting our own sedar. Both of these add unique layers of expectations and difficult conversations. Neither of us can truly understand why the other cares so much about certain things, so we have to have some interesting moments of attempting to explain it. The biggest topic is definitely Kitniyot* (I’m sure any regular readers are not shocked at this), and the second is Haggadot (but I’ll save that for an upcoming post).
My husband is a card carrying member of the Kitniyot Liberation Front, as am I. However, I don’t eat it. It is not hametz and we will both tell you that until we are blue in the face (that is beyond the point of this post, and if you comment on it, I may delete it). I chose to uphold my family’s minhag (custom) of not eating it, and D chooses to eat it. We made an agreement that our future children will eat it, and at that time, I may reassess my choice to not. We serve kitniyot in our home and our community all knows it. We have found those who will eat it and D has them over one afternoon for Cholent, and I go to my Rabbi’s house for Matzah Brie instead. However, that does not stop the endless comments from D and others that since I married a Sephardi man, I can eat it without regard to minhag. Yes, but I don’t want to.
Marrying a Sephardi man did not undo a lifetime of Ashkenzai traditions. I can embrace what my husband does to honor his ancestry, without denying my strong roots in the process. I don’t know what my grandfather would say about rice next to his sedar plate, but I hope I have many years of happiness before I will find out.