Every year, I host a seder that can only be described as unorthodox in every sense of the term. The guests are usually folks who might not otherwise observe the holiday, and I’m happy to gather them into my home to pray, eat, sing, and think about what freedom means and what we ought to do to make more of it in the world.
I’m so happy to gather them that in the days leading up to seder, I start freaking out about what we’re running short of because I’ve invited so many guests. Thus comes the last minute run for cutlery, dishes, glassware . . . every year it’s something different. The panic, however, remains the same.
As an environmentalist, I don’t want to use anything disposable. And as an iconoclast, I’ve never much cared if my cutlery, dishes, or glassware match. No one has ever mistaken me for Martha Stewart, nor mistaken my hand-painted plastic seder plate (strategically placed to cover the most indelible blemishes on my perpetually wine-stained table cloth) for hers (personally, if I have to go Stewart, I’d rather be lumped in with Jon than with Martha).
The most motley collection of items I put out for seder are my napkins, which I’ve acquired at various yard sales and Goodwill stores over the years. Color, fabric, size . . . there is no consistency. Until this year.
Because I just became the proud owner of a new sewing machine! Motel and Tzeitel were not any more excited about their new addition than I am about mine. Although as a tailor, Motel was probably better positioned to use his.
Given my limited sewing skills, my first project focused on the auto-embroidery feature, which I used to inscribe hostess-with-the-mostess messaging on the napkins. There’s something meditative about these sort of crafty projects, and it was really nice to take some time in the holiday-prep madness to do something creative, pro-recycling, and focused on the essence of hospitality.
Now all I have to do is sit back and wait for someone to spill some matzah ball soup.
Which reminds me, do I have enough soup spoons this year?