Passover

From Yemen To Monsey, A Freedom Journey

Yemenites here marking first Passover in America, but the adjustment isn't easy.

03/29/2010
Special To The Jewish Week

 This is the first Passover when Temia and her daughters won't be grinding wheat by hand and baking matzah in special wood-burning ovens, as they did in Yemen. Instead, they'll be tasting their first matzahs sold in a box, celebrating the holiday in their new homes in upstate Rockland County.

Yemeni men learning English

Preparing for Passover

With Passover just a few hours away, I’m feeling a bit guilty for not doing more to prepare. In particular, I have not done (nor will I do) anything even resembling the traditional Passover cleaning, in which the home is purged of all chametz, the forbidden leavened products and grains.

Ancient Egypt In Brooklyn

03/24/2010

Sculptures and mirrors, coffins and sarcophagi lids are some of the artifacts of daily life — and death — that shaped the existence of the Jews in ancient Egypt, the freed slaves that seders around the Jewish world remember at Passover each year.

For many members of the Jewish community, preparation for the holiday begins weeks before Pesach, in shopping and cooking and attending lectures.

Some creative New Yorkers had the chance to prepare this spring a few stops from a No. 2 or 3 subway exit in central Brooklyn.

Photo By Michael Datikash

Seder Liturgy Too Provocative?

Have you heard that President Obama, in his private meeting at the White House on Tuesday, urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to call on Jews around the world to refrain from singing or reciting “Next Year in Jerusalem” at their seders next week? 

Apparently the administration views such prayers as “unhelpful” to the peace process, and even “provocative,” given the political sensitivities of the moment. 

Jewish Cooking, 19th-Century Style

First-ever Jewish cookbook auctioned

03/24/2010
Editorial Intern

 So you think your Passover cleaning is tough.

“Before using the kitchen tables, they must undergo a thorough scrubbing, and be rinsed with scalding water. It was customary in England to lay them in fuller’s earth, which is not so well known here; so it would be advisable to have coarse cloths tacked on instead. The cisterns must be cleaned, and a piece of flannel put on the nozzle of the hydrant.”

Esther Levy’s 1871 cookbook, the first Jewish cookbook in America, fetched $11,000 at auction last week.

A Modern Passover Story In Egypt

An unexpected question confronts a pair of Jewish visitors in Cairo.

Special To The Jewish Week
03/26/2010

The initial plan was spectacular. While studying at Hebrew University in 1990, Arie Katz, a Princeton grad who currently serves as the chair of the Orange County Community Scholar Program in California, and I journeyed from Israel to Egypt the week before Passover to tour and admire our ancestors’ handiwork, otherwise known as the pyramids.
 

The Pesach Dishes

Old memories come out of storage each year.

Special To The Jewish Week
03/26/2010

Like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, the dishes emerge from the darkness of the Rubbermaid bins at the back of my garage, launching a reunion with long-gone relatives who come rushing across the parted sea into my patient, waiting arms. Slowly, I unfurl the newspaper wrapping and announce Pesach’s arrival in my home.
 

Clean Sweep

A feminist finds spiritual meaning in what she had seen as drudgery.

Special To The Jewish Week
03/26/2010

When I was a child, I watched my mother turn our New York suburban home upside down during her zealous Pesach cleaning. Later, as a young feminist, I resented the fact that my mother (with the help of our house cleaner) did all the cleaning and cooking before the seders, while my father led the ritual aspect of these meals.
 

I saw my mother as enslaved to an exaggerated notion of the halachic requirement to rid one’s home of chametz, which I thought was totally antithetical to the notion of Pesach as a holiday of freedom.
 

The Fifth Son

In those long-ago seders, who were the drab Peshevorskys, and why were they at our table?

Special To The Jewish Week
03/26/2010

Their name was pronounced Peshevorsky. I have no idea how it was spelled. Neither do I know their first names. I addressed them as “Mr. and Mrs. Peshevorsky.” It was such a mouthful, I had to practice saying it before they arrived.
 

They only joined us for the seders. It was, however, a perennial visit. Their presence defined Passover as certainly as the presence of a lulav and esrog defined Sukkot. The difference was, a lulav and esrog were more animated.
 

The Freedom Suite

Passover carries many meanings to different people -- historical, political, religious and personal. In the essays that follow, Isaac Steven Herschkopf, Haviva Ner-David, Neil Gillman and Charles Savenor offer their perspectives on the festival of freed

03/26/2010

 

The Freedom Suite
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