No More Matzo This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      Passover, the Jewish holiday in which Jews recall the harsh treatment of Pharaoh in the days of Moses, has come once again. It is customary for Jews to remember their enslavement by the Egyptians, the sweet exodus from Egypt, and the ten plagues. But, the biggest sacrifice of all, worse than eating horseradish plain, is - well - no bread. Being Italian, I love pizza and pasta, and being American, I love cakes, cookies and pies. But, for seven days, I give up eating anything with yeast. To irritate me further, Jews eat a tasteless, cardboard-like cracker called matzo, the bread of our enslaved people. By the third or fourth day, I get really sick of the stuff.

I love bread, so for me, this is a huge loss. For those seven days, I can’t think of anything but bread as my Christian friends at school eat chicken quesadillas, chocolate fudge cake, pizza, pasta with marinara, and many other forbidden items. I consider cheating. Sneaking a piece of bread pudding wouldn’t hurt me, would it?

After the sixth day of nonstop matzo, I am craving a decent sandwich. I need bread more than ever. Last year wasn’t this hard, I think. Why is Passover so difficult for me? Then out of nowhere, I realize the true meaning of Passover.

All I talked about were my problems, my needs, my cravings, me, me, me! Eating matzo isn’t a punishment, but a test of faith and fidelity to God and the history of my people. Sure, I get sick of the bland cracker, but imagine what the Jews of Moses endured - all they had to eat was matzo. I shouldn’t forget my people’s past just for a piece of pizza. Remembering the past is one of the most important things I can do to show my loyalty and respect toward my fellow Jews.

On the eighth day, the first day after Passover, I ate my plate of waffles not for my own consumption, but to remember the rejoicing of the Jews in their journey into exodus.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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