Friday, March 30, 2018

Holidays, Family, and Depression

I moved 6,000 miles away from my family; parents, siblings, grandparents, almost all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. And when I married Zach, I added a host of in-laws to that list.

Now, I get that for many, moving 6,000 miles away from family is a blessing. But I come from a fairly tight-knit clan, and we all pretty much get along. Holidays are a BIG thing for us. Getting together, sharing cooking duty, spending time together... it's what we do.

I've been living in Israel for almost 21 years and the holidays always depress the heck out of me. Or rather, it brings my depression to a whole new level.

I remember one year, going through fertility treatments, so I'm hopped up on hormones, and I'm getting ready for Pesach (Passover). I open the fridge and see the huge container of applesauce I had just made... and I totally lost it because I wanted my grandmother's applesauce (and her horseradish, sponge cake, gefilte fish, and stewed pears).

So we invite people - other ex-pats - to our Pesach seder, which is the main meal. I'll usually make a turkey, and a slew of other dishes. I fondly remember introducing the concept to an amazing Australian family who was joining us. Last year was by far one of the more interesting ones.

We had 9 guests, a couple who were vegetarian/vegan, and most of whom were actually not even Jewish. It was really fun for us to introduce and teach our customs to people who had never experienced a real Pesach seder. I made turkey, and I made zucchini stuffed with quinoa, mushrooms, and onions. There was a host of side dishes. And yes, I introduced them all to gefilte fish, which I admit, is an acquired taste.

This year, we're going to our daughter and her family for the Pesach seder for the very first time. And for the first time in a really long time, my usual holiday blues aren't that bad. I'm actually feeling pretty good and looking forward to going and spending time with my daughter, her husband, her delicious two boys, my other daughter, my husband, and our two sons.

Speaking of which, I need to get showered, and pack everything up so we can hit the road.

What are your family holiday meals like?


  1. I didn't know you were here. We're back now after being away for the Seder.

  2. We also have no relatives here, so our close friends have become our family. It does get depressing seeing so many families get together over the chag and chol hamoed, and we just don't have anyone. Maybe one day when our kids get married . . .

  3. After years of not being able to spend Pesach with family because I was observant and they weren't, I married into a family where my in-laws make seder, and we were with them for the first 7 years we were engaged/married. COuldn't go this year, and I was a little nervous to be back on the seder-with-friends set-up. Thank G-d, it went very well. But I have to admit I was nervous.