[April Featured Short Story] The Kashering by Heidi Slowinski

Monthly Short Story Feature

One of my writing goals for 2022 is to create more short stories. They’re a good creative exercise and sometimes lead to bigger ideas for novels. Or who knows, maybe an eventual collection of short stories in the form of a new book.

My selection this month is more personal in tone than my previous offerings. Less of a story and more a reflection, really. With Passover beginning at the end of the week, like many of you, I find myself meditating on the themes of the holiday, in spiritual preparation, as I have been working through the process of kashering my home. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to share your own reflections in the comments. And of course, chag sameach to you all.

The Kashering

  

As we prepare for the Passover festival, many of us are looking forward to gathering with friends and loved ones for our first in-person seder in two years. We’re moving into a new phase in the Covid-19 pandemic and experiencing a new normal. I started my preparations in my home last week and it has me reflecting: this year’s kashering feels different.

Kashering is the process of making utensils, dishes, cutting boards and other kitchen instruments kosher.

Two years ago, like many across the country, my company instructed us to pack our equipment and begin working from home. It was supposed to be temporary. We’d all be back in a couple of weeks. As the time dragged on, and the period of isolation continued, I went from wearing business casual to t-shirts and yoga pants, slippers and making endless trips to the kitchen, instead of a cafeteria, for another cup of coffee.

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Two years later, my blood type is now caramel macchiato and I have as many pairs of slippers as I do shoes at this point. But as I began my annual purge, something in me felt the need to begin in my closet. Among the first things to go in the charity box were the t-shirts that were once my workday uniform. As a member of the legions who now permanently work from home, I ditched the yoga pants and t-shirts in favor of returning to a more traditional business casual wardrobe. The yoga pants get to stay but now they’re for actually doing yoga.

Another major change to come out of the pandemic is where I live, making my preparations a bigger job than they used to be. I was one of the lucky ones to find a new home as the world started to open up. Given the current housing market, this felt something like winning the lottery. My new space came with an incredible gourmet kitchen with tons of cabinet space. Which means finally having the room to not only go fully kosher but having enough room leftover for a set of Passover kitchen essentials. No more disposable plates or plastic flatware this year! I know, look at me, all #jewishadulting and shit. There’s always been a piece of me that felt I was falling just a little bit short in my observance in years past. I am enjoying moving into this season free from the feeling on inadequacy that as plagued me in the past (pun intended).

Finally, this past Shabbat, my rabbi gave a sermon reflecting on principles of liberal Judaism and the choices we make in our observances. He emphasized the importance of in-depth, reflective study as a way of seeking meaning in the mitzvot. He concluded by sharing his own Mah Nishtanah (four questions) that act as guiding principles in observing the mitzvot. This has had me thinking and I intend to spend some time, over the holiday, drafting my own four questions to serve as my own roadmap as I move forward in my own “new normal”.

It seems only appropriate at this time to recite the Shehecheyanu. I hope you’ll join in:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

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Acknowledgements:

The sermon I reference in my piece was delivered by Rabbi Edward Boraz, PhD, this past Friday evening, April 8th, at Springhill Avenue Temple, Mobile, Alabama. Rabbi Boraz is an exceptional teacher and Talmudic scholar. He is the author of Understanding the Talmud: A Modern Reader’s Guide for Study.

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As a thank you for registering for our email list, you’ll receive free printable reading journal templates and a bonus 100 book reading list!

This page contains affiliate links. This means for any purchase made, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Past Short Story Features:

[January Featured Short Story] Come Away with Me by Heidi Slowinski

Monthly Short Story Feature One of my writing goals for 2022 is to create more short stories. They’re a good creative exercise and sometimes lead to bigger ideas for novels. Or who knows, maybe an eventual collection of short stories in the form of a new book. The story I’ve selected for this month is […]

[February Featured Short Story] Closing Time by Heidi Slowinski

Monthly Short Story Feature One of my writing goals for 2022 is to create more short stories. They’re a good creative exercise and sometimes lead to bigger ideas for novels. Or who knows, maybe an eventual collection of short stories in the form of a new book. The story I’ve selected for this month is […]

[March Featured Short Story] The Bus to Haifa by Heidi Slowinski

Monthly Short Story Feature One of my writing goals for 2022 is to create more short stories. They’re a good creative exercise and sometimes lead to bigger ideas for novels. Or who knows, maybe an eventual collection of short stories in the form of a new book. The story I’ve selected for this month is […]

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