The Great Matzo Ball-Eating Contest
The question is not: How is this night is different from all other nights? Rather: How many matzo balls can you eat? Those who are in need of inspiration in this department may greatly benefit from watching Faye Lederman’s documentary “Hold the Soup,” which is now being featured at the Seattle’s Jewish Film Festival.
As the film will remind you, to make your grandmother, aunts and in-laws truly kvell, you don’t have to melodiously recite the Haggadah, or even memorize the four questions by heart. Just eat and praise the cook. Do it for them.
The film follows a matzo ball-eating contest held at the Friars Club in Manhattan a few years back. You may already be familiar with the illustrious Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. That was where the Friar’s Club took its cue, and then truly transcended the genre.
Without giving away too much of the film’s breathtaking plot, I’ll only say that one does not need to be Jewish to know how to properly inhale matzo balls, though a certain familiarity does count for much.
Throughout the film, look out for numerous tips and tricks of efficient and elegant gluttony and you will surely make splash at the Passover table this year.
"This holiday we take for ourselves, no longer silent servers behind the curtain, but singers of the seder, with voices of gladness, creating our own convocation, and leaving ‘The Narrow Place’ together."— E.M. Broner
"The idea of opening the door is that we hope Elijah might actually be there this year – that we might actually have done enough to change the world to have had him arrive. And, if we don’t have even the tiniest bit in us that thinks he might be there, that thinks we have tried our hardest to bring around a messianic time, with no hunger, no war, no conflict, no pain – if we don’t believe that we have tried to end those broken parts in the world – well, then I tell my students – don’t do any of it."— Rabbi Leora Kaye
"The whole seder, for me, is the tension between two statements: We say, 'We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt and now we’re free,' but before that, we pick up the matzoh, we invite the hungry in and we say, 'This year we are slaves, next year may we be free.' We are the most fortunate, liberated Jews in history. But on the other hand, there are lots of things that enslave us."— Rabbi Arthur Green