Because Good Friday and the first night of Passover fall on the same date.
It has always been a complaint of mine that Good Friday is a state holiday in Hawaii. It seems odd to me.
When I taught at Wai’anae High School as an employee of the Hawaii State Department of Education I did not complain. I was always willing to take a day off, even if it isn’t my holiday.
When I enrolled my kids in a private school that promotes itself as non-sectarian and that administration continued to schedule Good Friday as a school holiday year after year, I began to get a bit ferkrimpt (that’s Yiddish for annoyed).
A few years ago somebody told me that the legislature has it off to prepare for Easter. Huh? Prepare? What do they have to do? Could they possibly be spending an entire day dying eggs in pretty colors? or putting together baskets of candy? or do they have to catch up on their sleep so they can make it to an Easter sunrise service a few days later?
Forgive me if this sounds sacrilegious, but from my perspective there is not a lot of formal observance of Good Friday. Easter Sunday is already a non work day and most of the people I know are pretty pagan about their rituals.
Which brings me to my next point. Good Friday and the first night of Passover are on the same date this year–today. Yet few in this wonderful state of aloha have the slightest notion that Jews in the islands, and around the world, are preparing for one of most important holidays in our heritage.
Why can’t it be a state holiday for us too? We actually have a lot of preparing to do.
Admittedly, some things have changed since I moved to Hawaii over 20 years ago. Local grocery stores such as Safeway and Times Market carry traditional Passover foods such as Matzah and gefiltah fish, even in Kapolei.
I no longer have to order it months in advance at Temple Emanu-El to have it shipped in for us.
When I went to Kapolei Safeway the other day to purchase matzah I was pleasantly surprised. They have come a long way.
Of course the Easter merchandise bombards you as soon as you walk in the door and I did have to walk around a bit before I could find the Jewish food section. But it was there. And it was decently stocked. Just as are we Jews on the island of Oahu.
They are set up for Jews all year round which is kind of nice since we are not just seasonal residents. I noticed that they sell Yahrzeit candles which means I don’t have to order them on eBay from now on.
I can’t quite figure out why they have included mince meat and Thomas the Tank Pez in this section. If anybody has any insight into this choice, please let me know. But I have decided not to complain, it seems fairly harmless.
I’ve been enjoying all of the Facebook posts from friends and family near and far about their Passover preparation. The brisket is cooking at my sister’s house. A local Jewish woman is looking for fresh horseradish and another woman in Honolulu posted that her house smells like Passover–yum.
It makes me feel like a part of a larger Jewish community.
What many people don’t realize, is that it takes days to prepare a Passover seder meal that tastes like Bubbe used to make. We should get a day off too.
Our Rabbi posted a fun article on the Temple Emanu-El Facebook page that was published in the New Yorker that I thought was hilarious. Here is the link.
And while I don’t always enjoy the You Tube videos people post, I really like this one that Lisa Block, my Temple Beth Ohr Hebrew School classmate who lives in California, shared.
And here is the Passover greeting from my friend Beverly who lives in South Africa.
While the State of Hawaii might not realize that our holiday is important too and that many of its local community are celebrating a holiday other than Easter, perhaps the enticing smell of the chicken soup simmering on my stove on this Good Friday and first night of Passover and all of the Facebook posts from Jews around the world might influence just a bit.
We always have room at our seder table for one more guest.
A zissin Pesach to all and Shabbat Shalom.