First off (to those celebrating), hag sameach, woo passover! Passover is one of my favorite holidays, if not my favorite, but to be fair I love them all.
This year for Passover I put on my own seder in honor of my mom coming to visit. It was a crazy few days of cleaning and kashering and then cooking in preparation for it. I had 11 people over, and I cooked enough for about 20 haha. I'm still eating left overs.
It's been really special so far to be in Jerusalem for passover. As every year at the end of the seder we sing "l'shana haba'a b'yerushalaim" or next year in Jerusalem, and my prayer from last year came true. Passover was also, in the time of the temple, a pilgrimage holiday, so the idea was that everyone would come to the temple in Jerusalem to offer their passover sacrifice. So it was cool to be in the place where historically people would come on pilgrimage, and many people still do come on passover, Jerusalem is full of tourists!
So during passover day (Tuesday) I went to services at Kedem, as usual. They were lovely. I really love singing hallel. One other thing I have really come to appreciate are the calendar markers in Judaism, whether it is the special insert you say on rosh chodesh, or different prayers that change with the season. For example for half the year during the section of the service called the amidah, half the year we say a line that has to do with having the rain fall "mashiv haruach u'morid hagashem" and the other half (although I think it's only in Israel) we say morid hatal, which is the prayer for dew. The first day of passover is when you switch from the rain one to the dew one. There is also a special prayer for dew that you say during the service. I just found it so cool, I remember at the beginning of my year here when we were doing the dew line and then switching and it is interesting to come back to it and think about where I was then vs where I am now. I love this stuff.
What else...last night I went to the kotel (western wall). I'm not such a fan of the wall to be honest, but I went because it's passover and this is what the Jewish people used to do, and I had the opportunity so I wanted to take it. People pray to be here and I'm here. It was cool to be there and see all the people that had descended on Jerusalem. I saw a fair amount of tears in the women's section. I had an interesting run in with a woman who asked to use my cell phone. She needed to call a cab so I let her, and then we were talking and she wanted to give me food (Jewish haha), but before she did she asked me if I was religious. I didn't really know how to answer, so I said "yes?" She asked me if I said blessings before I ate because if I didn't then she couldn't give me the food. Super frum. I said a blessing before I ate the chocolate, so we are both good. woo. It was just not something I'd heard before, but I don't spend a lot of time with super religious people so I guess it makes sense. Israel is a wild place/Judaism is a wild religion. I love it.
So now I'm on vacation. Life is good. Passover is lovely, and super easy here because everything is kosher for passover and there are all these restaurants open. Good stuff.
ps this is my fave passover video/parody thing that I've seen this year, check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_RmVJLfRoM