With every Passover program cancelling, many families are feeling the pressure of having to make Pesach at home for the first time.

Michelle Goldberg of New Rochelle was scheduled to attend a hotel program this year in Florida, along with her extended family, as they have each year in her seven years of marriage. She believes she will be ready in time. “Everything will be kashered and in its place. My pantry is completely full. I will be cooking what I do all year round, no need to be fancy,” she explained. “I did have to buy items for Passover at Bed Bath and Beyond. I went off of the blogger ‘Peas, Love and Carrots’ list of what to buy.” Goldberg purchased a big soup pot, a medium pot, a frying pan, stuff for meat and dairy and a pot for Pesach noodles.

Goldberg said what she will miss most is “the time you get to spend with your family all together, with no pressure on anyone. Everyone gets to enjoy the experience equally. Your only pressure is just to enjoy yourself.” While Goldberg hopes not to be in this situation again next year, she sees the flip side as not having to pack and no fears of lost luggage.

Nicole, a newlywed of 10 months to a man with four kids and a dog, explained how this is a whole different experience for her. The family was planning to go the Sharmel program in Edison, New Jersey, before it was cancelled. To add to the pressure, Nicole is an essential employee, working full time at an IVF laboratory. “There are currently no active IVF cases. I am doing all the lab work myself; my entire staff was let go. I go in at 9 a.m. to keep an eye on the incubators. I have to keep everything at the correct temperatures.”

“I made a list and went to Monsey, because I was really trying to be organized. But the second I got to the store, once I saw all the products, I let the list go and probably brought at least one of everything,” revealed Nicole. “I was planning to go to Amazing Savings to get pots and odds and ends, all the basics, like a salad bowl, but they were closed. Instead, I went to Evergreen and I bought metal pans.”

Nicole did mention that being single on the Upper West Side for many years, she had accumulated a small collection of Pesach cookware and other items. “I actually never unpacked these items when I moved into our new apartment, so I really do not know where everything is. I do have all these wedding gifts that I never opened. So I will use some of those items.” To add to Nicole’s stress, “All of my husband’s children are picky eaters. I went through all my cookbooks. I plan to make roasted chicken and brisket; that is easy. I will also make a lot of vegetables, potato kugel, chicken soup and a lot of matzah pizza.” One other issue is that her husband is Sephardic. “I don’t know any Sephardic recipes and I am actually going through recipes. The hotel is always Ashkenazic food. I thought great, we can have rice, but I have no idea what to make besides a plain pot of rice. That is boring.”

Nicole added, “I will miss everything about… being at a hotel, like the tea room, and socializing with my friends. I actually got a new hat to wear at the Pesach hotel, and now I do not have an occasion to wear it.” Nicole still plans for the family to get dressed up for the seder. “On a serious note, I have my health. My family has their health. I have a family of my own now, which is something I never thought that would happen in my life. I have my parents, who are healthy. I do a lot of complaining and I will miss my hotel family and friends, but the truth is, I will enjoy this Pesach because I have what I have.”

By Judy Berger