Jewish Journal

A Clean Sweep

by Abby Gilad

April 10, 2003 | 8:00 pm

It's spring cleaning time! You know how lots of people throw stuff out in the spring? They clean out their houses and put everything back in order. Well, we do that for Pesach, too. Traditional Jews spend weeks cleaning chametz (anything that is not kosher for Pesach) out of their homes. When I was a little girl, I spent a week just on the bookcases, opening and shaking out each book. On the first night of Pesach we have a seder, which means order in Hebrew.

It is a time when we also clean out our minds. What do we want to throw away? What fears, bad thoughts, secrets are we afraid to tell anybody? These kinds of things make us slaves to our minds. When we clean them out and create a fresh order, we have freed ourselves from their tyranny. As we say on Passover, "We were slaves, but now we are free!"

The Book Corner

"The Kids' Catalog of Passover: A Worldwide Celebration of Stories, Songs, Customs, Crafts, Food and Fun" by Barbara Rush and Cherie Karo Schwartz (Jewish Publication Society, 2000). Ages 9-12.

Another wondrous "Kids' Catalog," this time featuring the holiday of Passover. This is not a haggadah, but rather a companion to the ceremony, which can be used again and again. Here are hundreds of new ways to celebrate Passover with your family, synagogue and community. But the true joy of "The Kids' Catalog of Passover" is the book's multicultural flavor. Traditions from around the world, from Ashkenazic, Sephardic and Mizrachic Jewish sources, are lovingly described. There are engaging activities, illustrations and stories for the kids, and a comprehensive treatment of the themes of Passover for the grownups.

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