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Jewish Journal

Everyone has Special Needs at Passover

by Michelle K. Wolf

April 7, 2014 | 8:04 pm

The Passover seder can be an anxiety-producing holiday for many parents of children and teens with special needs. Often there are family or friends present you haven’t seen for while, and they may not understand the accommodations your child needs to feel comfortable and fully participate. But the big secret when it comes to the Passover seder is that every guest has his/her own unique set of likes and dislikes.

Here’s an email chain that could have happened:

Email sent one month before Passover

Dear Family and Friends,
We are really looking forward to hosting all 16 of you once again for the first night of seder on April 14. To accommodate our beloved Bubbe, we are starting a little earlier than usual, at 6:30, so she can have all her meds on time and be asleep by 11 pm. Please let me know if you have any special dietary restrictions this year.
Hugs to all,
Charlene and David

PS We are looking to be more creative than usual so please email your ideas for injecting some fun and interesting new ideas for our seder. Oh, and  hit “Reply All” so we can all share together☺

20 days till Passover
Dear Charlene
Thanks for inviting us once again to our favorite annual event. I meant to tell you that our Shana is now a complete vegan and prefers all of her food to be raw. This shouldn’t be any bother – just set aside any vegetables or fruits you were planning to serve, and please, please don’t cook /microwave/boil them in any way. She will know. She will bring along her own artisanal almond milk.
Thanks
Cindy and Bill

18 days till Passover
Dear Everyone,
I am so looking forward to seeing you all and sharing how I’ve gotten back the vitality and energy I was missing for so many years. Since August, I’ve changed over to a strict “PaleoPlus” diet and will now only eat food to which we are genetically adapted, and in fact, I have taken it one step higher by personally killing and skinning all of the meat and fish I consume.

Recognizing that I’m not a certified kosher butcher, I plan to bring along a large number of tuna that I will be catching the day or two before, and would appreciate if the raw fish were our main source of protein for our evening meal.

And, in terms of creative ideas, I’d like us all to come dressed as cave people, so we can act out early mankind’s first encounters with the divine, thus providing the “back story” to the Passover exodus tale.

Also, I would rather start at 9 pm, which is when our ancient ancestors would eat their last meal of the day, and preferably around a communal wood fire in the dining room.
With strong, primal hugs,
Aunt Chava

16 days until Passover
Dear Aunt Chava and everyone else,
Not to be a spoilsport, but I strongly object to the idea of us wearing fur. Alternatively, I suggest we come in Biblical garb. A big fire sounds cool!
Thanks
Cousin Michael
PS I don’t eat fish and would prefer the usual delicious brisket

12 days until Passover
Dear Cousin Michael and everyone else-
How about this: we can have raw food around for appetizers and Shana’s main course, and then the fish people can eat around the table in the den usually reserved for the children while the brisket eaters dine in the dining room? And how about costume optional? We will need to pass on a campfire in the dining room.
Looking forward
Charlene

10 days until Passover
Dear Family,
If we really want to be creative this year, let’s re-create the exodus out of Egypt and bring in buckets of sand for the living room as well as pitching a tent or two. Then we can literally “go out of Egypt” and make our way to the dining room area???
Sounds fun to me!
Aunt Molly
PS Our grandson’s doctor recently suggested we eliminate all food dyes from his diet, so please nothing with artificial colors, including those jelly candies. It will drive Sammy crazy to see them and not be able to eat them.

8 days until Passover
I can’t even think about sitting down on the ground with my hip replacement. Let’s discuss leaving Egypt as a metaphor. Also, those jelly candies are important to me as they remind me of my own childhood, many years ago.
Thanks
Uncle Morris
PS I ask that in respect to our rich tradition, we not skip over any of the Haggadah this year.

7 days until Passover
Hey,
I think it’s time for the younger generation to be in charge and our usual Haggadah reading is in need of a major disruption. We need way more irony, plus pink mustaches. And everyone should come wearing a vintage T-shirt from a thrift shop with a flannel shirt.
Cheers
Rob (please don’t call me Robby any more)

6 days until Passover
Dear Friends and Family,
Passover will soon be here, and it looks like we have a lot of different and good ideas about what we should do.  I wanted to make sure we nix using any eggs this year, as they are pagan-based, and instead substitute something more Jewish, such as pickles.
Thanks for listening,
Cousin Dora
PS I will be bringing along my little doggie, Chuckie, who cries when I leave him alone at night.

5 days until Passover
People,
All of these emails are seriously distracting me from writing my screenplay. Please drop me from the chain of emails. I will show up on April 14 at 6:30 with my usual 2 bottles of organic, sustainable wine but need to leave by 8:30 for a story slam downtown in a loft.
Thanks
Jeffrey

4 days until Passover
Along with the raw vegan diet, Shana shared with me this morning that she objects to the use of any wine or grape-based product during the seder. She is okay if we squeeze some grapes at the table to make fresh grape juice for the blessings, but we will need to use our feet to keep it authentic.
Thanks
Cindy and Bill

3 days until Passover
I have a real thing about dogs ever since my ex-girlfriend’s greyhound bit me, so please Dora, leave the dog at home.
Thanks
Robby

2 days until Passover
Dear Friends and Family
Surprise, surprise! David came home today with an amazing present—he booked us at the last minute on a 10-day Passover Cruise to Hawaii. Sorry to have to cancel our seder on such late notice, but I'm sure you can all figure something out.Hag Saemach and Aloha!!!
Charlene

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