By Sarah Schrock

Leave it to Twisp to serve up gluten-free matzah balls on Earth Day at a local Passover Seder.

At least a two dozen Jews and Gentiles gathered at two separate homes last Friday to celebrate Passover. Lasting eight days and nights, Passover celebrates the liberation of Jews from the bondage of slavery under the Pharaoh in Egypt and remembers the journey to freedom across the desert and the parting of Red Sea. The Seder meal is a tribute that ritualizes eating as a basic freedom not to be forgotten, but the telling of the ancient story is a story of universal freedom for humanity.

Sandi Scheinberg hosted over a dozen people on Burton Street to her Seder. Sandi says that each year the meal holds different significance to her life, ranging from a profound examination of personal liberation to viewing freedom from a political perspective.

The Seder meal includes traditional kosher foods that hold cultural symbolism and are eaten in chronological sequence. The custom of the Seder includes blessings, storytelling, songs and rituals and foods that symbolize the exodus. In one dish, bitter herbs symbolize the bitterness of slavery and are topped with a sweet paste of apples and walnuts (charoset), making for a bittersweet course.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock Greg and Keller Knaub, and Quin Smith, eat hard-boiled eggs as part of a Seder dinner at the Cortes home on Burgar Street.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Schrock

Greg and Keller Knaub, and Quin Smith, eat hard-boiled eggs as part of a Seder dinner at the Cortes home on Burgar Street.

Bittersweet at this year’s Seder was a heartfelt farewell to Lexi Koch, Chris Dorée and their son Jude. After 14 years of homesteading, farming and making Twisp River their home, the Dorée/Koch family is moving west to Port Townsend, Washington, where they will find cleaner skies and undoubtedly grow great things in their new community.

The past years of wildfires have caused much upheaval for this young family who have had to retreat from smoke to protect their son Jude, who lives with respiratory complications. As the co-founder of Classroom in Bloom, an organic farmer and life coach, Lexi’s passion of healing the heart, mind and soul of people and planet will be greatly missed. Good luck Chris, Jude and Lexi, the valley will always be here for you.

A Seder can take hours to complete – this can be difficult for young kids who are hungry and picky eaters. To entice the kids to pay attention through the epic meal, the matzah is concealed as the afikomen and hidden for a grand hunt after the meal. One of the most sacred food items is the matzah, unleavened bread. Made with wheat specially grown for Passover, matzah is critical to the meal and the holy week. While there are strict food laws in Judaism, it wouldn’t be Twispy if there wasn’t a gluten-free option, so Sandi’s Seder was complete with gluten-free matzah balls.

The child who finds the afikomen receives a much-anticipated prize of money or candy.  Each participant shares in a piece of the afikomen – marking the end of the meal and celebrating dessert.

Keller Knaub, age 8, was the afikomen prizewinner at Bob and Hannah Cortes’ home on Burton Street for another Seder. Passover happened to coincide with the opening of the North Cascades Highway this year. Keller’s family runs the Mt. Gardner Inn in Winthrop and therefore prepares for the pass opening weeks in advance. In a genuine gesture of salutation and confusion, Keller, who has never been to a Seder and wasn’t sure what Passover was, arrived at the party and greeted his hosts saying, “Happy Pass Open Day!”


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