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Eat, Drink + Think

Matzah pizza party this Shabbat!

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

Passover is stressful. The pandemic is stressful. This Shabbat, let’s relax with some pizza! Matzah pizza!

In normal times, I would treat Pesach Shabbat as a special occasion, complete with a special occasion-worthy meal. I have always loved Pesach Shabbat. As a child, my beloved Auntie Brigitte Scheinmann would make Tunisian feasts for a house full of family excited for msoki and honey-fried matzah.

Later on, as an adult I continued the tradition of treating Pesach Shabbat as a special occasion, inviting her son and later his wife and child to my house, cooking up salmon beurre blanc and strawberries with whipped cream. I have been known to schedule my Pesach Shabbat dinner a solid month before Passover.

Why is this year different than all other years? Why on this Shabbat of all Shabbats have I forsaken another formal white tablecloth meal on fine china?

When my Auntie invited us for her famous feast, she hadn’t cooked the seders. My Mom did. They switched off, each family hosting each other for festive meals. The kids were not climbing on top of the counters or clinging underfoot – we were off-building forts in the living room, entertaining each other. We were together.

This year, in the second year of apartness, I feel a deep tiredness in my bones. It urges me to be gentle with myself and to eschew my usual high standards. I have been fighting this tiredness for weeks, searching for that ineffable perfect holiday. I am ready to embrace this exhaustion and let it guide me to something simple and loving that feels like home.

I am done shushing my child out of the kitchen while a delicate sponge cake cooks. I am done mopping. I just want to laugh and kiss the faces of those I am lucky to be with and think about how lucky we are to be alive and together. This week the white table cloth and china will stay in the cupboard, one Shabbat adorned by only how happy we are that the deadly COVID-19 winter is over and our loved ones are still with us.

2019 Carly would be horrified. 2021 Carly is just happy to pinch and kiss fat cheeks while they spill crushed tomatoes and garlic across white countertops. She is just happy to still be in the room. I hope that gratitude carries over for every Pesach I am lucky enough to be at.

Click here for three Matzah Pizza recipes.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

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