March 2, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Chabad House Still Intact: A Passing Look at Passover

The evening of April 18 marks the beginning this year of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The eight-day festival commemorates the Hebrews’ liberation from slavery and departure from Egypt as told in the Book of Exodus in the Bible. The word Passover denotes that the Angel of Death “passed over” the homes of the Hebrews when the Plague of Death, the tenth plague, struck the Egyptians.

Orthodox Jews celebrate eight days of Passover as well as the first night. Less traditional Jews celebrate for seven days. During this period, no leavened bread products may be eaten in commemoration of the abrupt flight of the ancient Hebrews from Egypt, during which time they could not wait for the bread to rise. The bread substitute, matzo, is a cracker-like flat bread. Other baked goods, such as cakes, can be baked using ground matzo (matzo meal) or corn starch.

On the first two nights of Passover, families perform a religious ritual called the Seder (Hebrew for order). The first half is an account of the Exodus combining commentary, songs, and the eating of symbolic foods (greens for spring; bitter herbs for the suffering of slaves; hard-boiled eggs for renewal). A full dinner is then served, followed by thankful prayers and songs.

Several Seder rituals are especially fun for children. During the first half of the Seder, the youngest child asks the “Four Kashes” or questions as to “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The leader of the Seder answers these questions by reciting the Seder account of the Exodus. After the meal, children search for a hidden piece of matzo, known as the “Afikomen” (Greek for dessert). The child who finds the Afikomen can ask for a “ransom” in the form of money or a present.

Children also enjoy the final song of the Seder, “Chad Gadya” (one kid), in which a man buys a baby goat, the cat eats the goat, the cat is attacked by a dog, a stick beats the cat, et cetera. Although scholars explain the song as an allegory of Israel being conquered by successive nations, kids like the song because it is simply funny. In this writer’s family, we used to make appropriate animal sounds during the song.

In Santa Monica, several Jewish organizations and other institutions are holding Passover ceremonies and public Seders.

Congregation Kehillat Ma’arav (1715 21st Street, 310.829.0566) will be observing Passover with a First Day service on Tuesday April 19 at 9:30 a.m. and a Second Night Community Seder, also on April 19 at 6:30 p.m. Dinner will include traditional Seder foods as well as vegetarian options. Adults are $60, children (five-12) $30, children under age five are free. Reservations must be made by April 12.

Chabad House Lubavitch (1428 17th Street, 310.453.3011) will hold a traditional Passover Seder on Erev Passover (the first night, April 18) from 8 to 11 p.m. Traditional foods like Gefilte Fish, chicken soup, wine, and matzo will be served.

The non-denominational Church in Ocean Park (235 Hill Street) will be holding a community Seder on April 23 at 6:30 p.m. The Seder service, led by Jean Gasco, will combine traditional and modern elements. The event is free but attendees are urged to bring Passover-appropriate dishes. Those wishing to contribute food should call Fred Whitlock at 310.828.3951.

For Passover pastimes, film buffs can enjoy Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 film “The Ten Commandments,” which can be rented on video and is also shown on television every year around this time (check your listings). Less traditional (definitely!) is “When Do We Eat?” a 2005 comedy starring Michael Lerner and Lesley Ann Warren, in which a family gathers for Passover but the Seder goes awry when one of the father’s sons slips him some Ecstasy. For those who are open-minded, renting this film can provide some chuckles.

And for a mixture of tradition, diversity, and imagination, seek out “A Poet’s Haggadah,” edited by Rick Lupert, a collection of Passover-themed poetry by local and national poets, available for $12 at www.poetseder.com.

Related Posts

Film Review: Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One

July 19, 2023

July 19, 2023

FILM REVIEWMISSION IMPOSSIBLE – DEAD RECKONING PART ONERated PG-13163 MinutesReleased July 11th The story in this “Mission: Impossible” chapter, “Dead...

Film Review: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

July 5, 2023

July 5, 2023

FILM REVIEWINDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINYRated PG-13154 MinutesReleased June 30th The director of Indiana Jones and the Dial...

Film Review: Past Lives

June 27, 2023

June 27, 2023

FILM REVIEWPAST LIVESRated PG-13105 MinutesLimited Releases June 2nd and June 9th, Full Release June 23rd The Korean concept of “In...

Film Review: Sanctuary

June 8, 2023

June 8, 2023

FILM REVIEWSANCTUARYRated R96 MinutesReleased May 19th In my humble estimation, this is one of the best movies of the year....

Film Review: The Little Mermaid

June 2, 2023

June 2, 2023

FILM REVIEWTHE LITTLE MERMAIDRated PG135 MinutesReleased May 26th With today’s technological developments, a live-action The Little Mermaid is not only...

A Riveting Revival of the Pulitzer Prize-Winning “A Soldier’s Play” Now Playing At The Ahmanson Theatre

May 31, 2023

May 31, 2023

On Stage With… Murder mysteries, whether cinematic or theatrical, are one of the most popular subjects. The list is quite...

Film Review: Chevalier

May 12, 2023

May 12, 2023

By Kathryn Boole  RATED PG-13107 MinutesReleased April 21, 2023 Chevalier is based on the true story of a historical figure...

Ballet at the Broad Stage Memorial Weekend – Meet the Talent!

May 10, 2023

May 10, 2023

Westside Ballet of Santa Monica returns to the Broad Stage with special guest artists kicking off Friday May 26th with...

Elizabeth McGovern Lights Up The Stage in “Ava – The Secret Conversations”

April 26, 2023

April 26, 2023

Play About Legendary Screen Star Runs Until May 14 At The Geffen Playhouse By Beverly Cohn Ava Gardner, born Ava...

Unconventional Art Festival “The Other Art Fair” Returns to Santa Monica This Weekend

March 31, 2023

March 31, 2023

140 independent artists, immersive installations, performances, DJs, and a fully stocked bar await visitors at Barker Hangar The Other Art...

Samohi Theatre’s “The Drowsy Chaperone” Takes the Stage in Santa Monica

March 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

Shows will take place at Barnum Hall on March 3 and 4 at 7 p.m. and March 5 at 3...

Film Review: “Marlow”

February 23, 2023

February 23, 2023

FILM REVIEW“MARLOWE”Rated R109 MinutesReleased February 15th “Marlowe” is a beautifully shot period piece that takes place in the late 1930’s....

Film Review: All Quite on the Western Front

February 22, 2023

February 22, 2023

I have never been a soldier at war, although I have close friends and relatives who have been. Universally they...

SMC Emeritus Concert Band to Hold Free Concert This Weekend at the Broad Stage

February 22, 2023

February 22, 2023

Concert February 26 will feature musical selections with an outdoor theme Santa Monica College’s Emeritus Concert Band, under the baton...