You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the story of Passover.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, the straight-A student, had the Bat Mitzvah while Black, the troublemaker, rarely went to synagogue – so any guess who knows more about Passover, one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays?
Red learned most of what she knows about Passover from “The Ten Commandments,” a Hollywood “blockbuster” movie from 1956 (older than Black!) which she has seen countless times. (Check your local listings as it’s typically aired during the Passover/Easter season.) It’s the story of Moses, including him leading the Jews’ exodus from Egypt to escape slavery and the unforgettable parting of the Red Sea.It’s the story of matzoh (a cracker-like flatbread) because the Jews didn’t have time to wait for their bread to rise. It’s the story of when G-d struck down every firstborn Egyptian male, the lamb’s blood over the doors of Jewish homes saved their children (the angel of death “passed over” those homes).
As a lover of movies (and popcorn), and a theater major in college, Red explains,
I know “epic” movies shouldn’t be where I learn about religious holidays, but this movie did provide an extremely entertaining and unforgettable explanation of the key aspects of Passover. Although I know the famous director, Cecil B DeMille, took artistic license when interpreting the Bible.
Then there’s Black, who knew what was covered by the movie but also knows the religious significance of Passover. And that it’s about the number four (who equates a religious holiday with a number?!) – four questions, four sons, four expressions of redemption, and four cups of wine. And she remembers some Passover seders (the traditional Passover feast) that felt as if they lasted four hours!
P.S. – This year, Passover, Good Friday, and Easter overlap, which makes all the holidays even more special.
For those of you who have followed us for years, you know what’s coming … a naked turkey story. Because as soon as Black wrote it, it became a Thanksgiving tradition.
Black typically doesn’t reminisce, so her memories of a perfect turkey that made for a perfect Thanksgiving (for her) have become the perfect way for us to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. May your day be filled with family and friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Today is Thanksgiving, and I cannot help but wonder why we are online. However, everyone has their own way of celebrating. I know that Red is in the kitchen cooking – and watching a marathon of "The Godfather" movies. Which is perfect as turkeys take such a long time to cook and patience is important when you want it perfectly browned. So inviting, so appetizing, so … naked?
Growing up, our house used to be where everyone congregated for the holidays. Not because my mother was a good cook, or even liked to entertain, but because my parents bought a house on Long Island while the rest of her family continued to live in apartments in Brooklyn and the Bronx. In other words, they had the most room.
Thanksgiving was always a house full of people and everyone always gathered in the kitchen, which made food preparation a challenge. Especially as everyone loved to nibble on ingredients during the process. For the most part, Mom was a good sport about it. But, the closer we got to the turkey being ready, the more food she would move into the dining room, hoping we would follow the food.
I remember one year when the turkey cooling on the counter looked like something from a magazine – it was perfectly browned. Normally, it was splotchy, although you never knew it once my father was done carving it. (Although an engineer, he had dreamed of being a surgeon and every year as I watched him carve the turkey, I would think he missed his true calling.) Anyway, my mother was so proud of this perfectly browned turkey that she would not let anyone near it, and was delaying the inevitable carving.
However, she made the mistake of taking the balance of the side dishes into the dining room and my father must have been helping as my cousin and I snuck back into the kitchen. In a matter of seconds, we had striped that turkey naked. Enjoying the crispy skin (ok, this was well before the days we were told it was "bad" for you) and laughing until my parents returned to see what was causing the commotion.
Mom was less than pleased, while Daddy tried to hide his amusement. My cousin ran to the safety of his parents, while I stood there defiantly asking if could have a wing. To this day, I cannot see a perfectly browned turkey without remembering that Thanksgiving. And, I venture to guess it has become a favorite memory of my Mom's, as well.
So today, at the risk of being warm and fuzzy (which is Red's area of responsibility),
I want to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving … filled with memories that will last a lifetime.
People have told us they’re using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created “Conversation Starters”.
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I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year,
especially since last year was the first since Mom passed away, and the dining room table seemed incomplete. Which may partially explain why we ended up
sitting around the kitchen table and island instead. And that was wonderful – so relaxed, easy,
and fun – but I still couldn’t help but think of her not being with us. It’s funny because, over the years, even as
life changed, such as the girls growing up and going off to college, I’ve
always taken for granted that Thanksgiving would somehow always remain the
same, cooking the same dishes, with all the preparation beginning days in
So, I'm not sure that I truly stopped and appreciated each Thanksgiving Day as I was so focused on everything I needed to get done. This year, though, I plan to take a moment to stop and think about some of the things I'm thankful for, and to start appreciating the day itself. To try to "be present", so to speak, in the present.
|I know that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, but what
you just described is gratitude. Gratitude is "deeper" than
thankfulness, and the best way I can describe it is … think about when
you might write a thank you note – someone gives you something or does something
for you. It is a fleeting event. Now think about if you were to write someone
a note or letter of appreciation.
You have repeatedly told me that mere mortals often need reminders, so what if this Thanksgiving you start a "gratitude habit"? Make a daily appointment with yourself to find a few quiet moments and write down at least one thing for which you are grateful. It can be as simple as sunlight on your face or the crunch of an apple. You are probably rolling your eyes right now, but it will only take a few minutes and can change your life. Or, at least, how you look at it.
THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
- If you look back, what or who would you appreciate (or appreciate more) that you didn’t at the time?
- If you begin to appreciate the value of appreciation (pun intended), what might you want to be mindful of going forward?
- Do you think a "gratitude habit" might be useful? Would you be willing to "test-drive" (Black's words) one for a month and see if your opinion changes? Explain your answers.
Money. It’s the first thing Red thought about when her husband came home and, totally unexpectedly, told her he was fired. And what was the first thing she did? She freaked out (Black likes to say that Red finally used her theater degree), assuming the worst about their financial situation. And if that wasn’t bad enough, she was certain she couldn’t “do” personal finance.
She then made a third foolish assumption … that her sister Black, who had an M.B.A. in International Finance, would tell her what to do. Instead, after giving Red a few days to deal with her emotions, Black started to ask her basic questions about their financial situation, and it became obvious Red’s default setting was to “freak out”.
And so Red’s journey (which Black turned into our bestselling book, What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!) began with learning the basics of personal finance and, ultimately, she’d realize that Black wasn’t being sarcastic when she said,
When it comes to money, you have two choices: you can let your money control you, or you can control your money.
But first, Red, a straight-A student, had to overcome the unfounded belief that she wasn’t capable of learning about money. She had to find a way to get around the mental roadblocks of being intimidated by financial terminology and concepts, which the very thought of gave her a headache. And then Black simply asked,
Can you add and subtract? If so, you’re qualified to “do” personal finance.
So, whether you’re more like Red (was), feel like you’ve got a good handle on your money but are always looking for tips and tools, or merely are curious about Black’s unusual ways of looking at money (or her sarcastic comments), we think you’ll enjoy the DOLLARS & SENSE section on our new site in the new year.
Until then, and especially since “tis the season for spending”, we want to share some of our favorite money posts:
- TERMINOLOGY (AS EXPLAINED BY BLACK): RED & BLACK … Like Money More Than Math?
- A POWERFUL TIP: Think Before You Spend?
- MONEY & RELATIONSHIPS: My husband and I always argue about money. Any advice?
- CREDIT CARDS: My credit card bills are out of control! What do I do?
- BUDGETING (THIS IS A TRUE STORY): Black’s First Budget – A Fond Childhood Memory?
- ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS: Talking To Myself … About Money?