Sure, there are smart, savvy folks who head to the Alps this week (you know who you are) and then go away for part or all of the Passover holiday. They get an actual vacation rather than the kind of pre-Passover prep frenzy that actually makes Seder night all the more satisfying. (Really.)
But the chunk of time most people feel forced to devote to cleaning, shopping and cooking is upon us, and it can be overwhelming.
In case you need something to keep you going, we’ve come with the top five items and activities that can help uplift your spirit. Call it Passover therapy, call it holiday treats, but be sure to add some bling to your Passover prep.
1) Head this weekend to Fashion’s Art, a three-day interactive tour of Israeli designers and artists. They’re all handpicked by Galit Reismann, the founder of TLVstyle Boutique Tour, who’s joined by personal development center Lili & Bloom and the Tel Aviv Arts Council in this particular endeavor. Opening Thursday evening, March 14 at 8 pm, and running through Friday (opening at 10 am), and into Saturday (closing at 9 pm), the event will explore the relationship between the garment as an art and the art as a garment. Participating artists and designers include Hadas Malin, Gidi Smilansky, Studio Sfog, Danit Peleg, Ben Gal, Katerina Nevler, Paul W Curran, Anat Zafrir A22, Naomi Maaravi, Dean Avisar, Maria Berman, Osnat Har Noy, Michal Ben Ami, Toosha, Adam Gefen, Avital Coorsh, Liza Arjuan, Northern Star, JUD TLV, Frog, Tamar Branitzky and more. Entry is free, and the address is 13 Lilienblum Street, Tel Aviv.
2) We’ve written about Nomi Zysblat’s mouth-cooling paletas – Latin American fruit ice popsicles — before, when she offered apple/honey/wine and pomegranate/lemon/mint flavors for Rosh Hashana. She’s got a new batch for Passover, including strawberry/balsamic vinegar, pear/wine/cinnamon and pink grapefruit/arak (all nondairy and kosher for Passover), and some other fabulous ideas for Passover eats, including rice paper wrappers — for those who eat legume products — a Vietnamese creation that serves as the perfect holder for a bundle of fresh vegetables, dipped in a soy or oil-based sauce. Available in grocery stores and health food stores, the wrappers are briefly dipped in water to soften them, then laid out on a flat surface, and rolled with thin, julienned slices of cucumber, carrot, shiitake mushrooms, scallion, some basil and mint leaves, if you like, and then wrapped like a burrito for easy eating. For a sauce, combine a drop of sesame oil, lemon or lime juice, a little soy sauce, some ginger, a dab of rice vinegar, and dip the roll. Very satisfying.
3) There are kitchen cabinets to clean, and food to prepare, but you gotta have the right table accoutrements to accompany all those Passover delicacies. One of the nicer ones I’ve seen this season is from Umbrella, a design firm that made lovely cotton runners printed with the stages of the seder, from Kadesh through Nirtza. They have it in cream-on-beige and beige-on-cream, and it can be placed on top of a tablecloth to add a little extra oomph to the seder table. If you’ve got enough tablecloths, consider their matzah holder, a metal stand that takes up less room on the table. Available at Nisha Jerusalem and through Branda Baligam Shop, online.
4) Looking for another Haggadah to add to the collection? Illustrator Hanoch Piven came out with one that’s great for kids, and adults as well. Working with kids from the Children at Risk organization, many of whom are housed in boarding schools, he employed his usual collage method, using buttons, scraps of fabric and paper, keys, coins and string to create characters conceived of by the kids, telling their stories within the journey of the Haggadah. It can be viewed online or downloaded as a free app, with hard copies available for purchase.
5) If you have kids, or are entertaining some in the coming weeks, activities are always welcome, and it’s easy enough to connect them to the themes of the holiday. I always head to the Creative Jewish Mom blog for ideas, where Sara Rivka offers great, often fairly easy crafts for busy fingers. She’s got a host of ideas for Passover, including origami pyramids and jumping frogs, although those may be beyond my skill set. What’s great about the origami crafts is that they don’t require much beyond paper and scissors, but if you’re really looking for something simple, the Monster Ketchup for the Ten Plagues is another idea that could work as well.