Guest post: Who Gets the Kids on Passover?

By John T. Syrtash

So who gets the kids for the first Seder if the parents are separated? To make it worse, who, on this Blessed Earth really wants to reach into his pocket (or parent’s pockets) and dish out hard cold cash to some lawyer over a Seder, for heaven’s sake? I’m sure some Rabbi will probably answer that Pesach, like any other celebration, is just one more “challenge” to the Jewish spirit. That is frankly small comfort. However, a decent lawyer with a conscience will try and avoid court, call opposing counsel and invite him to Starbucks for a latte or an “original roast” at Tim Hortons. The two will review their clients’ respective complaints.

1) I can’t do second night. My mother always does the first. This year she’s invited 35,934 people. Our Mendel Jr. (aged 6) is the youngest and has been chosen to sing the Manish tana. It will kill my mother if Mendel’s not there. Besides…Imma makes a better brisket than your mother, with Dijon, not French.

2)You can’t have the first night. Don’t ruin Pesach for them. Your parents say Kiddush after shul, like around 10 P.M. Mendel’s head will be in his soup plate, fast asleep, before the main course. They’re too young. It’s not fair. Torture yourself with your mother’s bitter tzimes, not the children.

3) Will you pay the plane fare? My parents live in Windsor. Last year you had both nights at your parents in Forest Hill. So my parents should have them both nights this year. Of course, you do have option of paying to split the nights, but you pay the plane fare.

4) You can’t have the first night. Your family doesn’t know from religion. How do I know the food will be kosher for Pesach? The kids will end up in Gehenom.

And you thought that splitting the Red Sea was a miracle? . But why does this happen? Why do families suffer, year after year? A time to celebrate freedom often ironically pressures families to tear themselves apart.

Some solutions?

1) Alternate the first and second Seders from year to year

2) Alternate both Seders from year to year

3) Give replacement days for the Seders or Seder

4) Invite the other parent to your Seder, as horrifying a thought as that may appear i.e. suspend the war for one or two nights for the sake of Pesach.


1) Split up the kids

2) Go with the kids to Bahrain on Pesach, the country with the fewest Jews in the world (36 at last count.)

3) Go to court and give me a large retainer cheque to obtain a Court order for one of the Solutions under numbers 1-4 (see above) since it costs more than its worth.

John T. Syrtash B.A.(Hon.) LL.B Counsel, Garfin Zeidenberg LLP. 35 years in practise Family Law Lawyer, Toronto., (416) 642-5410, 


Posted on April 21, 2016, in Guest Post, Passover, People. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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