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May 16, 2003     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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PAGE 24 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MAY 16, Liberating the at sea on the Theod ByRabbiMaurice S. Kaprow The ceremonial Wardroom Editor's note: Rabbi (Officer's Dining facility) was MauriceS. Kaprow, from Or- closed early and the nightly lando, a Commander in the Department Head dinner was U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, canceled. When I walked in, currently serves as thethetablesweresetwithbright Deputy Fleet Chaplain for the tablecloths, new china, and U.S. Sixth Fleet and is sta- gleaming silverware. The tionedin Italy. lights were down low and Custom Windows and Doors Will your windows weather the next storm? 2478 Winter Park, FL 32792 Energy efficient replacement windows Gutters and down spouts Screen enclosures Siding Soffit and facia S. Klein Contractors ][IB ~ Financing Available Tahoe Circle Steve Klein 407-657-0158 MOST DEPENDABLE, VERSATILE, AFFORDABLE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT - Orlando Sentinel Food Critic FLORIDATRENffS TOP 200 RESTAURANTS Early Bird Specials From 4:30to 6p.m. ALTAMONTE SPRINGS 407-831-2250 ORLANDO 407-273-9330 Just this once, trade in your for a and come tour our fabulous new Hebrew Day School & Patricia IL Selznick Middle School Tour takes about 20 minutes. Call Angel for an appointment. 407-647-0713 Register your child now for the learning experience of a lifetime! There are a few openings left! young Sailors looking their finest in crisp white shirts and carefully pressed black trou- sers were standing by around the large room ready to help in any way possible. Each place setting consisted of a silver liner plate, a dinner plate, wine glass and flatware, all topped with a flower-folded napkin. Small cups contain- ing salt water and charoses, the sweet apple-nut mixture symbolizing the mortar the ancient Israelites made dur- ing their years of Egyptian sla- very, adorned each place set- ting. Plates filled with matzos provided by the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council, romaine lettuce for maror (bitter herbs), and neatly sliced cel- ery sticks for carpas (the sym- bol of springtime) were sta- tioned along the long, main table and on the smaller, round side tables. Wine and grape juice bottles were placed out, as well. And, off in the corner on its own table, stood a large pitcher with water, a large bowl, and hand towels for the ritual hand-washing ceremo- nies. By 1815 (6:15 p.m.), Sailors began slowly filtering in to the room. Normally open only to officers, the young enlisted men and women kept glanc- ing at the furnishings and the pictures on the bulkheads which depict scenes of the ship's namesake, Theodore Roosevelt, a noted war hero, a former Secretary of the Navy, and the 26th President of the United States. When the ship's bell was struck five times indi- cating 1830, the quiet mur- muring ceased and 16 chairs around the Seder table were filled with eager service mem- bers awaiting the opening words of the Haggadah, the traditional Seder liturgy. I stood and observed that this Seder was very special. We had just concluded our participation in Operation Iraqi Freedom with our em- barked air wing flying hun- dreds of missions over enemy territory, preparing the battle- field for the Coalition ground troops. The efforts of this ship- air wing team (coupled with similar efforts from the four other deployed aircraft carri- ers) resulted in swift victory over the ruthless and evil re- gime of Sadaam Hussein. I said that we were living the Pass- over story again, that we were God's tools in bringing free- dom to an oppressed and en- slaved people. And, when Iraq's evil ruler repeatedly refused to hear these pleas to divest of weapons of mass destruction, and"Let these people go!," God again, through us, brought redemption to this hurting populace. After filling our cups with wine and grape juice, we began with the traditional Kiddush. We lifted our voices to thank God for enabling us to become holy, for blessing us with holy days in which to rejoice, and for granting us life to reach this moment. I ritually washed my hands after explaining that now we were covered with the dirt of war and this act of hand washing was meant to cleanse us of that difficult task. As soon as I returned to the table, we all took some celery, dipped it into the saltwater and recited our blessing of thanks for the fruits of the earth and the start of spring, when the earth awak- ens from the hibernation of winter. OFFICIAL U.S. NAVY PHOTOCRAPH Chaplain MAURICE S. KAPROW, Deputy Fleet Chaplain, US SIXTH Fleet leads the Seder for same of the members of the Jewish community in USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVTV 7J). Could son# water fills the sea And could joy flood tongues like the waves, limitless as And could our ~ eagles' wings And our feet the deer, lasting love Which is Your mg, dearest US. (From the Pra Followingthisact, lreached whenwewereyounger.Melo-Jewish Personnel outandliftedupthemiddleof dies and tunes from other Armed Forces three matzos which were cov- times, from other Sederswent States, (c) 1984 by the ered with a cloth and posi- through our consciousness, mission on Jewish tionednearme,andbrokeitin The smell of t'simis (sweet laincyoftheJWB, andi two. Despite knowingthat this carrot stew) and potato kugel by permission.) war was a war of obligation, lingered in our memories, In joy and thankful! unavoidably, innocent lives along with the mental pic- we lifted our wine were lost. Also, some of our ture ofSeder services around the last time as we fellow service members were the table with long since de- God as the One who killedinthefight.Thisbroken parted family members. Vi- thy of praise and matzo symbolizes the pain of sionsofhome, fromNewYork Finally, we separation caused by death, to California, from the Rio Seder service by askir no matter how noble. It marks Grande to the Canadian bar- evil everywhere be the irreparable rupture of der reverberated through our that all may live families, coalition forces and minds, until we finally drifted justice prevail and Iraqi alike, left in the wake of back to reality, continue tobrin thisdestruction.Itsymbolizes We spoke of the Paschal of- to people everywhere,~ the stark difference between fering as the willingness to the traditional son war's trauma and the cam- sacrifice.WereadoftheMatzo, ingthe~ forts of peace. And, it marks the bread that did not have ',next the change in mindset, from time to rise because of the leged to observe theupheavalof0bligatorywar rapid departure from slavery, a peace-filled to the normality of peace. From that we learned that we world," our We proceeded to relate the must always be ready to seize ished with the singing( story of the Exodus, applying any opportunity to promote ditional hymns its lessons to all of us here. We freedom. And, we recalled the For all of us who pointed to the matzo, thebread bitter herbs while recogniz- OperationIrac of affliction and understood ingehat no matter how bitter express the hope that it is also the bread of life. our situation, we must always Prophet Isaiah, We remembered that God re- persevere.We learned that no know a world where deemed us all in Egypt, that matter how difficult, the pur- dam and peace each of us has gone through suit of liberty and freedom is where "nation ourown, deeplypersonal, road so dear, we must never give up sword agains~ toward liberation. We recog- up. neither shall they nized that freedom is never Finally, we were thankful any more." free. There are always people for all of God's goodness. We Thevie who desire to rule others and recognized that it is not our article are to jerk away our liberties, might that enables us to en- do not necessarily There are those who detest dure,butitistrulyGod'sgrace opinion or positi( our country and all the good and love for freedom-loving Department of for which it stands. There are people everywhere thatmakes United States NavY, those who delight irt killing this redemption possible. U.S. military people with whom they dis- Then, we lifted ourwinecups Rabbi Kaprow agree. And, there are those, in praiseofourEternaIMaker Orlando in 1981 like us, who have volunteered as we celebrated our personal Jersey. He was the to go to the ends of the earth redemption from bondage, director of the and risk our own lives to pro- After washing our handsSchool. In 1985, tect our population (as well as again for our meal, we made by Jewish Family Set other, targeted people) andto theappropriateblessingsover GreaterOrlando, prevent terrorists and simi- our matzo, our bitter herbs, came a chaplain. He~ lar-minded evil souls whose and our "Hillel sandwich" first rabbi i~ only thought is to eradicate ali (where we combine bitter Williamsburg those who do not agree with herbs and charoses as sym- munity, before them. bols of the Paschal offering) joined with the As we went from page to and ate them. With the ritual Orlando J page in the Haggadah, we re- concluded for the moment, to become minded ourselves of our many we sat down to our Seder He maintains blessings, of the sweet joy we meal. The wardroom servers and intends to get when we pray to God as we brought out platters heaped his retirement see fit, when we speak our high with baked fish, pota- Navy. He faithfully minds on issues that face us, toes, and our version on or get news and opinions with t'simis, followedbyadelicious News, even manydifferentviewpoints.We fresh fruit dessert. Once we transferred to remember the excitement had all eaten out fill, we en- cations, in order to when we freely cast ballots in joyed the Afikomen, a small with what is our democratic process, and bit of matzo used to remind Orlando area. when we deem it necessary, us that the last taste in our He served as a c petition our government to mouths after the Seder must the Orh make changes in policy. We be the Pascal offering repre- Base before recalled the bitterness of re- sented by the matzo we broke duty in 1990. pression and the sweet taste of at the start of the Seder. Kaprowhasbeem liberty. And, we remembered We again picked up our the that we enjoy all this because Haggadotandproceededwith Medal, of God's grace for us each and the Grace after Meals fol- dation Medal, everyday, lowed by the third cup of At the same time, manyof wine. We sang hymns of holds 14 Helo us thought of our families praise to God, both from als. faraway, preparingtheirown Psalms and from our morn- His nickname Seder services, filled with ing liturgy. We recognized is "Supersonic concern for us and for our that words aione could never safety. Our minds drifted to describe the daily miracles ters he has been Seder services in the past, God provides: as chaplain.