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March 22, 2013

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 22, 2013 By Leo Margul/ Passover means seders. They are important Jewish traditions, but also social and hunger-filled minefields. These tips will help you navigate the time between when you show up and avoid questions about your career/relationship to when you shout "Next year in Jerusalem!" and run out with all the flourless desserts. Staying full during the long wait for the Passover meal Why did I starve myself in anticipation of dinner tonight? Can't I just nibble on some brisket while we get through this seder? You could ifyouwere at my house, but some people aren't as cool. Here is how to stay satiated during the seder's long, foodless period: JNS,org humor columnist Leo Margul. --Dipping the bitter herbs: We dip the bitter herbs into some salt-water, but who says the dipping has to be over after that? Two words: side, guaca- mole. Between the salt water dip and your mouth, dip those leafy greens into a convenient rolls around, everyone elsewill your checkbook." Hopefully Passover words: Egyptians, bowiofguacamoleyoubrought bestrugglingfromhunger, but thiswillgetyouoffthehookfor bondage, Pharaoh, matzo, fromhome, andsmileknowing you'll be ready for your second next year and convince people unleavened, bitter, ancestors, you're keeping hunger at bay course. You can go put your tostarthavingbabies, thenthey etc. For example: andrepresentingothercultures pocketturkeyinthefridgenow, can go look for the afikomen. --Our ancestors made mat- at the table, your champion. Reading from the Haggadah zahtoescapefromPharaohand --The Hillel sandwich: A Finding the afikomen Usually at a seder, partici- the house of bondage. combination of horseradish As someone in my 20s, pants will take turns reading --We eat unleavened bread and charoset that is so close to I am still occasionally the from the Haggadah. Your todayjustasourancestorsdid. actual food it makes you weep youngest person at the seder, relatives'monotones, however, --Pharaoh was into bond- for something more substan- which means I have to find the don't help you pay attention, age, but other Egyptians were tial. Twowords: pocket, turkey, afikomen. The sadists hosting Between Aunt Leah and Uncle not, and this made him bitter. Keep a slice of turkey in your usually decide that because Moishe it sounds like Ben Oh what's that? Suddenly ev- pocket, throw it on the Hillel I'm older they should hide it Stein and Kristen Stewart eryone stopped drawing cool sandwich and BAM! You've got somewhere much harder to got together to help put some shapes with the 10 plagues a real meal, completewith dell- find, like the tool-shed in their children to sleep, pinky wine on their plates and ciousprotein.Honey-glazedor garage or folded up in a tiny Thisleadstoyouzoningout started paying attention. oven-baked turkey, your call. locketaroundtheirneck.Toget while fantasizing about Bagel Followingtheseinstructions Feel free to offer others your them back, while you're look- Bites and losing your place in will certainly make you the pocket turkey slices, but be ing for the afikomen, feel fre the Haggadah. How do you most popular person at your prepared for their bewildered to re-arrange some of the stuff pretend you're focused when gathering. Then you can host looks, which means they're in their house too. Thenwhen called on to read? Simple: just yourownsedernextyear, where jealous, you come back, say"found the createafewsentencesusingany everyone gets a variety of side By the time the actualseder afikomen, good luck finding combination of these popular dishes and pocket meats. By Penny Schwartz BOSTON (JTA)--Years ago, Nancy Steiner set out to make her family seder a bit more en- tertaining for her own young kids. She wrote a poem that became very popular among family and friends. "On This Night: The Steps of the Sealer in Rhyme," Steiner's first published children's book, is an updated version of that poem with large format, brightly colored illustrations by Wen@ Edelson that will appeal to religiously observant families. Along with"Lotsa Matzah," it's one of two new Passover books for the youngest chil- dren to enliven the beloved holiday. "On This Night" features lively rhymes that follow the Courtesy Kar-Ben Publishing Mata h' offers some tempt/ng ways to enjoy the unleavened bread, including 'syrup on fried matzah brei. Malzah piz cheese piled high : 14 steps of the seder, with each section identified by its Hebrew name. In a phone interview with JTA from her home in Los Angeles, Steinersays she hopes the rhymes not only entertain but also reveal the heart of the holiday and the meaning behind the seder. Part of the verse reads: "Tell- ing the story each year like it's new helps us to feel that it's what we went through." Edelson's lively illustrations of the seder night depict a contemporary religiously ob- servant family with a modern aesthetic. Young girls and boys, whose heads are covered with kippot, are shown par- ticipating fully in the seder's activities. A fuzzy yellow duck- ling tags along for the festival. "Lotsa Matzah (Karn Ben)," a board book by Tilda Balsley and illustrated by Akemi Gutierrez, sets the beat with lighthearted rhymes about matzah and Moses, and the hunt for the afikomen. One double-page spread offers some tempting ways to enjoy eating matzah--with "syrup on fried matzah brei. Matzah pizza, cheese piled high." "So shout it out! Hurray for matzah! It's Passover and we'll eat lotsa." Gutierrez's cartoon-like illustrations will delight kids with lots of smiling faces and a madcap hunt for the afikomen. The front cover boasts a tower- ing stack of matzah crackers with jam and a friendly dog eager to share in the festivities. The book will appeal espe- cially to those aged 1-4. This year's winner of the Sydney Taylor Award for young readers, recently announced by the Association of Jewish Libraries, is "The Elijah Door: A Passover Tale" (Holiday House). The Old World-style story was written by Linda Leo- pold Strauss and illustrated assover, peace, with richly detailed colored woodcuts by Alexi Natchev. The endearing, lighthearted tale is set in Poland (and some- times Russia). The grown-ups in the Galinsky and Lippa families start a foolish argu- ment over hens and geese that divides their town. With Passover approaching, the children of the two families plot a reunion, inspired by the hope that comes with Elijah's presence during the holiday. "Who can resist a folktale about star-crossed lovers with a Jewish twist and a happy end- ing?" commentedAimee Lurie, chair of the Sydney Taylor Awards Committee. The book stands out for its "lovely woodcut illustrations, creative problem solving and positive Jewish message of loving your neighbor," writes Courtesy Hachai Publishing 'On This Night' features lively rhymes that follow the 14 steps of the seder. Lurie, librarian at the Agnon Jewish Day School in Cleve- land. "It all adds up to a story children will want to hear more than once." By Rafael Medoff Passover at Irma Lindheim's Long Island home in the 1920s was not your standard Jewish holiday experience. There was plenty of matzo ball soup and brisket, to be sure. But the dining room was occupied by a makeshift tent, the Passover table was replaced by a pile of sheepskin rugs, and the Lindheim children were dressed in Arab garb. For Mrs. Lindheim, the national president of Hadassah, the women's Zionist organization, from 1926 to 1928, Passover was an opportunity to make a dramatic statement aboutwhat she perceived as the common heritage of Arabs and Jews and her hopes for peace in Palestine. The path that led to Irma Lindheim's unique Passover seders began during a trip to the Holy Land shortly after WofldWar I.Avisitto aBedouin encampment near the Syrian border deeply impressed her. The sheik received her "so courteously," the wives of his harem were so attractive, his childrenwere so charming, the ample food was "so delicious in taste and aroma," that Mrs. Lindheim had to wonder, as she put it,"Underwhat possible cir- cumstances could such people and I possibly be enemies?" In Mrs. Lindheim's eyes, Hadassah, The Women's Zionist Organization of America Irma Lindheim the Arabs of Palestine closely resembled the Jews of biblical times--so, surely, they should all be able to get along. She marveled at the fact that her host "pulled off my boots him- self, and laved my feetwith cool water, [just] as Abraham had done with the three strangers," as recounted in Genesis 18:1-4. "The customs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were customs of the present-day Bedouin," she wrote. "When Abraham sat before his tent in the heat of the day.., he did no differ- ently than a Bedouin sheikh we encountered, resting before his tent in the Plains of the Huleh." As her personal contribution to the cause of Arab-Jewish amity, Mrs. Lindheim decided to radically revise her own Passover seders. Her children "would wear the robes of the desert Bedouin and would eat their meal in a tent.., to com- memorate not only the flight of their forebears from slavery to freedom, but also bonds with the Arab people who lived now exactly as their forefathers lived then." On their first such Passover, "young Norvin [her eldest son] stood, tall and darkly handsome in his Bedouin robes," to recite the story of the exodus before a group that included Sir Wynd- ham Deeds, first secretary of the British government in Mandatory Palestine, andRabbi Stephen S. Wise, the foremost American Jewish leader of that era. Wise was a renowned orator, and "his beautiful great voice boomed out" as the hosts and their guests all joined in reading sections of the Hag- gadah. Lindheim's youngest son, Stephen, who was named after Wise, recited the Four Questions. "To the children, to our- selves, and to our many guests," she later recalled, "the seder [was] at once an unforgettable experience in itself and, in its way, a family landmark." But Mrs. Lindheim was not contentwith symbolic gestures such as her unorthodox Pass- over seders. She and the Hadas- sah organization undertook a Courtesy of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, the foremost American Jew- ish leader of his time, was part of Irma Lindheim's first Arab-style Passover seder. series of projects in Mandatory Palestine aimed at improving Arab-Jewish ties, including providing free health care to Arab communities, establish- ing the U.S. Jewish leadership's only Committee for the Study of Arab-Jewish Relations, and building the first Jewish-Arab playground in Jerusalem. Generously funded by Mrs. Lindheim's aunt, Bertha Gug- genheimer, the Zion Hill play- ground opened near the Zion Gate of Jerusalem's Old City in 1926, complete with supervi- sors trained by the American Playground Association. Sadly, it did not last long. In the late summer of 1929, Arab residents of Hebron and Jerusalem carried out wide- spread anti-Jewish violence. Since the Zion Hill playground was situated in a predominantly Arab neighborhood, the super- visors, fearing for the children's safety, quickly shut down the facility. Two months later, when they returned to the site to reopen it, they were horri- fied to find local Arab children painting slogans such as "Down with the Jews" and "Down with the Balfour Declaration" on the equipment and walls. Although one of the goals of the playground had been to promote good relations with the local Arab residents, chief supervisor Rachel Schwarz found that "amongst the Arab neighbors are many who took an active part in recent riots and are very active at present in the [anti-Jewish] boycott." Schwarz reported to Mrs. Lindheim and the otherAmericansponsors of the project that Arab children were harassing the Jewish childrenwith shouts of"Wewill slaughter the Jews" and "The Jews are dogs," and there had been incidents in which "the Arab boys ran after the Jewish children, throwing stones at them." By the autumn of 1930, the majority of the playground's sponsors decided to close it for good. Mrs. Lindheim opposed shutting down the facility, on the grounds that "the Arab and liberal press will make capital of this" to prove that the Jews were not sincerely interested in cooperationwith theArabs. But her colleagues were convinced that, despite their noble inten- tions, the site had become too dangerous. As Irma Lindheim's experi- ences demonstrated, the notion thatAmerican Zionists ignored the PalestinianArabs in thepre- Israel years is a myth. Not only were American Jewish leaders well aware of the local Arabs, but some, such as Mrs. Lind- heim, were acutely sensitive to Arab concerns and invested considerable time, effort, and funds to improve Arab-Jewish relations. But no matter how deeply American Zionists yearned for peace, and even when they went so far as to radically revise their Passover celebrations in order to fosterpositive feelings toward the Arabs, their good intentions often went unreciprocated. Dr. Rafael Nedoff is the au- thor of 14 books about Jewish history, the Holocaust, and Zionism, including the His- torical Dictionary of Zionism (coauthored with Prof. Chaim I. Waxman).