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Horseradish Killed My Faith by Anna Maxwell I have lived my life void of any serious practice of religion for almost seventeen years. Every Easter I put on a floral dress and while my shin sweat begins to stick to the pew, I faintly whisper the words of a hymn as my tone-deaf grandmother belts these songs straight from her belly. Other than watching my Oma make the rest of the congregation wonder if she is singing or choking on something, I have never found faith to be a very paramount force in my life. Even though I have used the church in the past for my own amusement to make fun of the out-of-tune elderly, I still do consider spirituality to be a curious, extraordinary of human nature. I like the idea of finding meaning and reason in a seemingly indifferent universe. Mr. Blaustein sent out an email Monday morning inviting people of all faith to come and join him in the student center on Tuesday night for Seder. My anticipation grew, not only because I was curious about this Jewish tradition, but anything other than creamed spinach from the dining hall sounded appetizing. However, I soon took notice that this wasn't exactly a sloppy turkey Thanksgiving dinner. Seder consists of Hebrew prayers and specific rules before we can even lay eyes on our meal. After the prayers were said and I nodded politely pretending to understand what any of them meant, finally we were given our first bit of food. A small cracker, with what looked like sausage and cheese on it. Starving, I sunk my teeth into it with little bits of cracker crumbs running down my chin. This bite was not as delectable as it looked. When my teeth went through the cracker, and my tongue absorbed the large chunk I had crunched off, I soon realized this wasn't exactly a light cheddar paired with a tender juicy sausage meatball as I thought it was going to be. Instead, a sweet, dark-colored paste made of fruits and nuts filled my palate. The carnivore inside me was devastated. Expecting the cheese helped revive this snack, I bit further down only to find more disappointment. Horseradish. Bitterness and dismay riddled my bones. I tried to swallow it as to not offend anyone in the room, but it was as though my throat had closed in on me. Losing the little dignity I had, I did what had to be done. With my napkin in hand, I shrank in my chair a little and spat out the now mashed up brown ball. No food should ever be so deceitful. I had gone into my first seder so bright-eyed and eagerly ready to learn about this Jewish ceremony. But as the “charoset” was regurgitated from my mouth, so was any sliver left of my faith. If this was religion tasted like, I didn’t want any part of it. I certainly didn’t feel God in the student center that night, however I did find out horseradish is not for human consumption.


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