by Lesly / Tuesday, 23 March 2010 /
Passover begins next week. It celebrates the Exodus from Egypt and is hallmarked by two big ritual dinners, or seders, that feature the communal reading of the Exodus story and eating matzah, or unleavened bread. The story goes that the Jews had to leave Egypt so quickly that they had no time to wait for their bread to rise, and for this reason, we are allowed to eat no leavening for the eight days of Passover. Calling matzah the bread of affliction is another reminder of the slavery that the Jews endured in Egypt, and after eating it for eight days, one certainly feels afflicted! At the seders, the plate of matzah is covered by a cloth until a certain point, at which time they are revealed.
I made this matzah cover as a gift for Susan who is hosting the first seder this year. We will have the second seder at our house on Tuesday night. I wanted to make another one for our seder, but ran out of time. I was surprised how quickly and easily it came together. It is mainly batiks, with a bit of regular quilting cotton.
The Hebrew letters, which spell Pesach (Passover in Hebrew), are ones I got from the internet, from a Jewish education site showing the Hebrew alphabet. I printed them, photocopied them at 400%, and, using a lightbox, traced them onto fusible webbing. I ironed the webbing onto cotton and cut out the letters, then hand-basted them onto a piece of fabric. Using a narrow zigzag stitch, I machine-appliqued the letters.
The batting is a piece of cotton flannel, and the backing is another piece of batik - light purple with gold highlights.
Between now and Monday night, I have to turn my house over for Passover, taking all regular (non-Passover) food, the toaster and breadmaker, down to the basement and cleaning all the cupboards, shelves and cabinets to remove any trace of leavening, or chametz. A big job, since I'll be in Toronto for the rest of the week! Today I will be deciding my menu for the seder. Whew! I'm going to need some extra coffee before my noon cut-off! If you celebrate Pesach, what is your biggest challenge for getting ready? And what are you making for the seder?