Unleavened by
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Passover is a joyous holiday when we Jews celebrate our freedom from bondage in Egypt.  Every year at the Seder we retell the story of our ancestors who followed Moses across a desert in search of a new home in the Promised Land.

The Bible tells us that these ancient Hebrews left in such haste they didn’t wait for their baking bread to rise.  Thus in their desert wanderings they ate the unleavened bread known as matzo.  And so every year during the eight days of Passover,  we Jews eat this “bread of affliction” to honor that ancient struggle for a homeland.

Last year my friend Helene and I had tickets for a show one evening during the holiday,  and we met at a Broadway restaurant for dinner before the curtain.

Once we were seated we happened to strike up a conversation with a couple at the next table who were tourists visiting from Wisconsin.  They were delighted to meet two such friendly New Yorkers,  and we were happy to play Big Apple ambassadors.

When the waiter came to take our order,  Helene and I asked for matzo instead of bread.  Soon the meal arrived and we were engrossed in our own conversation when we heard one of our new Wisconsin friends call the waiter.

”May we have some of those large flat crackers the ladies at the next table seem to be enjoying?”,  we heard him ask.

There’s really no place like New York for the holidays,  is there?

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Passover, Holidays
Characterizations: funny


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Glad you and your friend were proper NYC ambassadors. Did you explain to the Badgers what they would be eating? And why? Or did you let it pass…over?

  2. Suzy says:

    Very funny, Dana! Betsy’s already made the obvious joke, so I’m left without a clever comment. Maybe John Shutkin can enlighten us about Wisconsin, since he lived there for a number of years.

  3. Marian says:

    That’s hilarious, Dana, but fits with the Wisconsin people. Palo Alto, near to where I live, has the most Jews per capita in the Bay Area, but delis still can’t survive. Years ago one made a brave attempt for a year or so, and it was fun to go in there and watch many very confused people. One evening I guided a couple through a “nostalgia plate” that contained, among other things, knishes and kasha with varniskes.

    • Oh dear, I didn’t realize it was so hard to find Jewish food in California!

      I’m about to tell you something I promise is true! We have good friends, ex-New Yorkers Bob & Naomi, who live in Palo Alto and many years ago they were in NY and stayed with us for a few days. Speaking to Bob a few days after they were back in California, he said he was suffering “post-chopped liver depression”. I thought he was missing us but I now realize he was missing the food!

  4. A little levity is always welcome, Dee!

    Many years ago I opened a small deli in Hawaii and couldn’t GIVE the lox away! (Spam, no problem.)

  5. Laurie Levy says:

    LOL, Dana. People who did not grow up eating matzo and other Passover foods for eight days each year seem to enjoy those big crackers. For me, they are the bread of affliction.

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