In fifth grade, my class held a Passover dinner as part of our unit on Exodus. Exodus was a big deal then, with Charlton Heston starring in the “Ten Commandments” rerunning every year on television, so we knew the story well (that and “Gone with the Wind”).
I remember baking the unleavened bread and marveling at how flat it was. I had only ever had Wonder Bread at that point and was unfamiliar with the concepts of crust and crumb. I remember mixing the bitter herbs in a bowl, the pungent smell of them, and serving a small spoonful to each student and parent at our long table. We each held a small piece of paper with our lines, our prayers, our questions.
Since I attended a Catholic school, I am sure we held our Passover dinner on Holy Thursday to tie it into the Last Supper, and I am sure this unit segued right into Easter. I do not remember being taught that Passover was a living tradition, that there were still Jewish people and that Jewish people still celebrated Passover.
In my child’s mind, Passover was something the Israelites did right after they escaped from Egypt with Charlton Heston. My image of it stayed in ancient times.
click on link for more Selections from the smorgasbord of spring celebrations, learning from Passover and Black Day