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March 23, 2018     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 23, 2018

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PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 23, 2018 By MJL Staff (My Jewish Learning via JTA)--Here are nine things that many likely wouldn't know about the Festival of Freedom: 1. In Gibraltar, there's dust in the charoset. The traditional charoset is a sweet Passover paste whose texture is meant as a reminder of the mortar the enslaved Jews used to build in ancient Egypt. The name itself is related to the Hebrew word for clay. In Ashkenazi tradi- tion, it is traditionally made from crushed nuts, apples and sweet red wine, while Sephardic Jews use figs or dates. But the tiny Jewish community of this small Brit- ish territory at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula takes the brick symbolism to another level, using the dust of actual bricks in their recipe. 2. Abraham Lincoln died during Passover. The 16th American presi- dent was shot at Ford's The- atre on a Friday, April 14, 1865, which coincided with the fourth night of Passover. The next morning, Jews who wouldn't normally have at- tended services on the holiday were so moved by Lincoln's passing they made their way to synagogues, where the normally celebratory Passover services were instead marked by acts of mourning and the singing of Yore Kippur hymns. American Jews were so af- fected by the president's death that Congregation Shearith Israel in New York recited the prayer for the dead--usually said only for Jews--on Lin- coln's behalf. 3. Arizona Is a hub for matzah wheat. Hasidic Jews from Brook- lyn have been increasingly sourcing wheat for their Pass- over matzah from farmers in Arizona. Excessive moisture in wheat kernels can result in fermentation, rendering the harvest unsuitable for Passover use. But rain is scarce in Ari- zona, which allows for a stricter standard of matzah production. Rabbis from New York travel to Arizona in the days leading up to the harvest, where they inspect the grains meticulously to ensure they are cut at the precise moisture levels 4. At the seder, Persian Jews whip each other with scallions. Many of the Passover seder rituals are intended to re- create the sensory experience of Egyptian slavery, from the eating of bitter herbs and matzah to the dipping of greenery in saltwater, which symbolizes the tears shed by the oppressed Israelites. Some Jews from Iran and Afghanistan have the tradi- tion of whipping each other with green onions before the singing of "Dayenu." 5. Karaite Jews skip the wine. By Edgar M. Bronfman (JTA) When I walked into the house through the back door one day as a young man, I was shocked to see my mother in the kitchen. To put it mildly, this was not one of her favorite places. When I asked herwhy she was there, a look of panic crossed her face. Karaite Jews reject rabbinic Judaism, observing only laws detailed in the Torah. That's why they don't drink the tra- ditional four cups of wine at the seder. Wine is fermented, and fermented foods are prohibited on Passover, so instead they drink fruit juice. (Mainstream Jews hold that only fermented grains are prohibited.) The Karaites also eschew other staples of the traditional seder, including the seder plate and charoset. Their maror (bitter herbs) is a mixture of lemon peel, bitter lettuce and an assortment of other herbs. 6. Israeli Jews have only one seder. Israeli Jews observe only one Passover seder, un- like everywhere else where traditionally two seders are held, one on each of the first two nights of the holiday. Known as "yom tov sheni shel galuyot"--literally "the second festival day of the Diaspora"--the practice was begun 2,000 years ago when Jews were informed of the start of a new lunar month only after it had been confirmed by witnesses in Jerusalem. Because Jewish communities outside of Israel were often delayed in learning the news, they consequently couldn't be sure precisely which day festivals were meant to be observed. As a result, the practice of "Now that Grandma's gone," she explained, "I have to make the charoset." Sensing her culinary dis- comfort, I volunteered to take over. With a look of vast relief, she fled the scene. Guided by the memory of my grand- mother's charoset--the sweet, chunky, fruity mixture Give a little TENDERNESS O Save 75%" on Omaha Steaks The Family GoUrmet BUffet ~2 (5 oz.) Filet Mignons 2 (5 oz.) Top Sirloins 2 (4 oz.) Boneless Pork Chops 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts (1 lb. pkg.) 4 (3 oz.) Kielbasa Sausages 4 (4 oz.) Omaha Steaks Burgers 4 (3 oz.) Potatoes au Gratin 4 (4 oz.) Caramel Apple Tartlets OS Seasoning Packet (.33 oz.) 51689AAG Combo Price $4999 :) Plus, get 4 more Burgers and 4 more Kielbasa *Savings shown over aggregated single item base price. Limit 2 51689 pkgs. Your 4 free burgers and 4 free kielbasa will be sent to each shipping address that includes 51689. Standard S&H will be added per address. Flat rate shipping and reward cards and codes cannot be used with this offer. Not valid with other offers. Expires 7/31/18. All purchases acknowledge acceptance of Omaha Steaks, Inc. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Visit terms-of-useOSI and or call 1-800-228-9872 for a copy. @2018 OCG I Omaha Steaks, Inc. 118M0094 observing two seder days was instituted just to be sure. 7 You're wrong about the orange on the seder plate. Some progressive Jews have adopted the practice of including an orange on the seder plate as a symbol of inclusion of gays, lesbians and other groups marginalized in the Jewish community. The story goes that the practice was instituted by the feminist scholar Susannah Heschel af- ter she was told that a woman belongs on the synagogue bimah, or prayer podium, like an orange belongs on a seder plate. But according to Heschel, that story is false. In that apocryphal version, she said, "a woman's words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is erased. Isn't that precisely what's happened over the centuries to women's ideas?" 8. "Afikomen" isn't Hebrew. For many seder partici- pants, the highlight of the meal is the afikomen--a broken piece of matzah that the seder leader hides and the children search for; the per- son who finds the afikomen usually gets a small reward. Most scholars believe the word "afikomen" derives from the Greek word for dessert. Oth- ers say it refers to a kind of post meal revelry common among the Greeks. Either theory would explain why the that symbolizes the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build Egypt's real estate--I chopped up apples and wal- nuts and added raisins. I mixed them together, then added a couple of spoon- fuls of honey and a generous splash of port wine. During the seder, my cha- roset received wild compli- ments all around. "Who made this?" my fa- ther asked, clearly pleased. Without hesitation, my mother told him I had done so. When asked for my secret, I proudly answered, "Good port." I don't think it's a stretch to suggest that my hands-on involvement, combined with the warm, welcoming em- brace of my efforts, contrib- utes to my love of Passover, the holiday most deeply embedded in the Jewish consciousness. Though its earliest origins may be as a spring festival, and to be sure, many elements of the spring agricultural celebration remain, those elements gradually evolved into the eightday holiday we celebrate today during the month of April. In celebrating Passover, we fulfill the injunction "Re- member this day, on which you went free from Egypt, the house of bondage, how the Lord freed you from it with a mighty hand." (Exodus 13:3) The theme of a journey from subjugation to freedom is at the heart of the Passover story, and there is a strong emphasis on repeating the liberation story every year and to each generation. This stern direction to remember Abraham Lincoln was as- sassinated during Passover in April 1865. afikomen is traditionally the last thing eaten at the seder. 9. For North African Jews, after Passover comes Mi- mouna. Most people are eager for a break from holiday meals when the eight-day Passover holiday concludes. But for the Jews of North Africa, the holi- day's end is the perfect time for another feast, Mimouna, marking the beginning of spring. Celebrated after night- fall on the last day of Passover, Mimouna is marked by a large spread of foods and the open- ing of homes to guests. The celebration is often ladenwith symbolism, including fish for fertility and golden rings for wealth. our own story of liberation and keep it alive across gen- erations lifts it into universal resonance. The Exodus from Egypt is not to be seen as a one- time historical occurrence with a beginning and an end: oppression, struggle, victory. It is not only those slaves, but all slaves, that concern us; not only that struggle, but all struggles. Each generation must learn anew how to overcome the wrongs of the world; the job will never be done. Children will not be born into a perfect world created for them by their parents. They can only continue to hold the torch, and their parents' role is to teach them how to carry on the fight for justice. That is why the Passover ritual is central to Judaism. It is so crucial-that whoever does not keep it, the Bible tells us, will be cast out and will no longer be considered a part of Israel. In other words, this is the premise of Judaism: If you are to be a part of the people, you must struggle to maintain or realize freedom all your life. Philanthropist Edgar M. Bronfman, formerly CEO of the Seagram Company Ltd was the foundation chairman of the international board of governors of Hillel and also president of the World Jewish Congress. From the author's posthumously pub- lished book "Why Be Jewish: A Testament." Copyright (c) 2016 by WBJ Publications, LLC. Reprinted by permis- sion of Twelve/Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved. 1-844-404-8904 ask for 51689AAG www.O ma h aStea m/m ea 107