Passover is a Jewish celebration of freedom. It marks the Exodus from Egyptian bondage, the heroic escape from Pharaoh's army at the Red Sea and the beginning of the desert sojourn to the promised land, to freedom. The holiday is celebrated with a special ordered meal. Each stage of the meal involves learning, story telling and questioning. Through the dialectic conversation of the retelling the Exodus story, we learn about our people's history, about forms of slavery today and our call for justice. The ordered meal is called a "seder," which in Hebrew means "order." The concept, our ancient rabbis teach us, was to ignite curiosities around the table, especially among youth. Through this excitement, and through their own curiosity, they may be compelled to learn more. One goal of the seder meal is to move from "g'nut" to "shevach," or oppression to praise. Our spiritual state, our mindset begins the holiday celebration as if we ourselves are still enslaved. We conclude with celebration and praise of God, and of our ancestors for leading us out of bondage to freedom.
The festival of Passover lasts for an entire week. Our seder meal is one way to experience the story of our people. Another is through the dietary guidelines that accompany the holiday. For a week, the Jewish tradition charges us to cut bread and other leavening agents out of our diet. This is symbolic of the matzah, the unleavened bread the Israelites took with them as they escaped Egypt. Experiencing a "taste" of slavery and the sacrifices our ancestors made to reach religious and spiritual freedom is a key component of Passover. It is a time for family learning. The holiday offers us a chance for community gathering and introspection about our commitment to Jewish heritage and combating slavery in all its forms in the modern world. Our Temple Bat Yam community seder will be on April 9 at 6 p.m. at Harrah's Casino Stateline, Nev. We encourage anyone to join us and learn more about the Passover holiday.
Those who wish to attend need to send a check with their name, e-mail address, mailing address, home phone and cell phone. Cost for the dinner is:
If paid before April 4, each adult member $60; nonmember $75;
If paid before April 4, each child member 4-12 years old $30; nonmember $40;
If paid after April 4, each child member 4-12 years old $40; nonmember $50;
Children 0-3 years old are free.
Send the information and check to Temple Bat Yam, P.O. Box 5099, Stateline, NV 89449.