Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Foods

As we mentioned in a previous post, The Rabbi’s Top Ten: The Best of Everything Jewish, Rabbi Schwartz has been recruited to write a weekly online column (aka blog) for the Times of Israel. Here now is his first top ten list, The Rabbi’s Top 10 Jewish Foods, originally published on their website on April 17th. You can click on the title to read it over there, or continue on to read it here:

Since food is especially on our minds during this week of Pesach, and matzah ranks #2 on my list, I thought this would be a good (and tasty) way to kick off my weekly list.

1. Challah—Synonymous with the Jewish Sabbath, and round ones with raisins for the New Year are extra-special.

2. MatzahEating this rather than regular bread dramatizes the Exodus experience.

3. BagelNow one of our culinary gifts to America and the world.

4. LatkaThe true miracle of Hanukah when made well.

5. HumentashenAs much a part of Purim as the megillah.

6. FelafelIsrael’s culinary gift to the world.

7. Chicken SoupJewish home remedy and all-purpose starter.

8. KugelDurability and varieties make it an enduring staple.

9. KnishEven sold in some stadiums, evokes Old Country legacy.

10. Gefilta fishNobody’s favorite, but remarkable generational staying power.

Feel free to leave a comment if you disagree, or agree, with this list, or if you otherwise have anything you would want to add, or subtract, from it, or would change the order in any way.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hiatus, Discontinuity, and Change

Once again, I would like to share my latest guest post written for the Hannah Arendt Center blog's Quote of the Week feature. This post is called Hiatus, Discontinuity, and Change, originally posted on April 14th, and the discussion has some relationship to our recently concluded Passover holiday.

"The end of the old is not necessarily the beginning of the new."

Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind

This is a simple enough statement, and yet it masks a profound truth, one that we often overlook out of the very human tendency to seek consistency and connection, to make order out of the chaos of reality, and to ignore the anomalous nature of that which lies in between whatever phenomena we are attending to.

Perhaps the clearest example of this has been what proved to be the unfounded optimism that greeted the overthrow of autocratic regimes through American intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the native-born movements known collectively as the Arab Spring. It is one thing to disrupt the status quo, to overthrow an unpopular and undemocratic regime. But that end does not necessarily lead to the establishment of a new, beneficent and participatory political structure. We see this time and time again, now in Putin's Russia, a century ago with the Russian Revolution, and over two centuries ago with the French Revolution.

Of course, it has long been understood that oftentimes, to begin something new, we first have to put an end to something old. The popular saying that you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs reflects this understanding, although it is certainly not the case that breaking eggs will inevitably and automatically lead to the creation of an omelet. Breaking eggs is a necessary but not sufficient cause of omelets, and while this is not an example of the classic chicken and egg problem, I think we can imagine that the chicken might have something to say on the matter of breaking eggs. Certainly, the chicken would have a different view on what is signified or ought to be signified by the end of the old, meaning the end of the egg shell, insofar as you can't make a chicken without it first breaking out of the egg that it took form within.


So, whether you take the chicken's point of view, or adopt the perspective of the omelet, looking backwards, reverse engineering the current situation, it is only natural to view the beginning of the new as an effect brought into being by the end of the old, to assume or make an inference based on sequencing in time, to posit a causal relationship and commit the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc, if for no other reason that by force of narrative logic that compels us to create a coherent storyline.  In this respect, Arendt points to the foundation tales of ancient Israel and Rome:

We have the Biblical story of the exodus of Israeli tribes from Egypt, which preceded the Mosaic legislation constituting the Hebrew people, and Virgil's story of the wanderings of Aeneas, which led to the foundation of Rome—"dum conderet urbem," as Virgil defines the content of his great poem even in its first lines. Both legends begin with an act of liberation, the flight from oppression and slavery in Egypt and the flight from burning Troy (that is, from annihilation); and in both instances this act is told from the perspective of a new freedom, the conquest of a new "promised land" that offers more than Egypt's fleshpots and the foundation of a new City that is prepared for by a war destined to undo the Trojan war, so that the order of events as laid down by Homer could be reversed.

Fast forward to the American Revolution, and we find that the founders of the republic, mindful of the uniqueness of their undertaking, searched for archetypes in the ancient world. And what they found in the narratives of Exodus and the Aeneid was that the act of liberation, and the establishment of a new freedom are two events, not one, and in effect subject to Alfred Korzybski's non-Aristotelian Principle of Non-Identity. The success of the formation of the American republic can be attributed to the awareness on their part of the chasm that exists between the closing of one era and the opening of a new age, of their separation in time and space:

No doubt if we read these legends as tales, there is a world of difference between the aimless desperate wanderings of the Israeli tribes in the desert after the Exodus and the marvelously colorful tales of the adventures of Aeneas and his fellow Trojans; but to the men of action of later generations who ransacked the archives of antiquity for paradigms to guide their own intentions, this was not decisive. What was decisive was that there was a hiatus between disaster and salvation, between liberation from the old order and the new freedom, embodied in a novus ordo saeclorum, a "new world order of the ages" with whose rise the world had structurally changed.

I find Arendt's use of the term hiatus interesting, given that in contemporary American culture it has largely been appropriated by the television industry to refer to a series that has been taken off the air for a period of time, but not cancelled. The typical phrase is on hiatus, meaning on a break or on vacation. But Arendt reminds us that such connotations only scratch the surface of the word's broader meanings. The Latin word hiatus refers to an opening or rupture, a physical break or missing part or link in a concrete material object. As such, it becomes a spatial metaphor when applied to an interruption or break in time, a usage introduced in the 17th century. Interestingly, this coincides with the period in English history known as the Interregnum, which began in 1649 with the execution of King Charles I, led to Oliver Cromwell's installation as Lord Protector, and ended after Cromwell's death with the Restoration of the monarchy under Charles II, son of Charles I. While in some ways anticipating the American Revolution, the English Civil War followed an older pattern, one that Mircea Eliade referred to as the myth of eternal return, a circular movement rather than the linear progression of history and cause-effect relations.

The idea of moving forward, of progress, requires a future-orientation that only comes into being in the modern age, by which I mean the era that followed the printing revolution associated with Johannes Gutenberg (I discuss this in my book, On the Binding Biases of Time and Other Essays on General Semantics and Media Ecology). But that same print culture also gave rise to modern science, and with it the monopoly granted to efficient causality, cause-effect relations, to the exclusion in particular of final and formal cause (see Marshall and Eric McLuhan's Media and Formal Cause). This is the basis of the Newtonian universe in which every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and every effect can be linked back in a causal chain to another event that preceded it and brought it into being. The view of time as continuous and connected can be traced back to the introduction of the mechanical clock in the 13th century, but was solidified through the printing of calendars and time lines, and the same effect was created in spatial terms by the reproduction of maps, and the use of spatial grids, e.g., the Mercator projection.

And while the invention of history, as a written narrative concerning the linear progression over time can be traced back to the ancient Israelites, and the story of the exodus, the story incorporates the idea of a hiatus in overlapping structures:

A1.  Joseph is the golden boy, the son favored by his father Jacob, earning him the enmity of his brothers
A2.  he is sold into slavery by them, winds up in Egypt as a slave and then is falsely accused and imprisoned
A3.  by virtue of his ability to interpret dreams he gains his freedom and rises to the position of Pharaoh's prime minister

B1.  Joseph welcomes his brothers and father, and the House of Israel goes down to Egypt to sojourn due to famine in the land of Canaan
B2.  their descendants are enslaved, oppressed, and persecuted
B3.  Moses is chosen to confront Pharaoh, liberate the Israelites, and lead them on their journey through the desert

C1.  the Israelites are freed from bondage and escape from Egypt
C2.  the revelation at Sinai fully establishes their covenant with God
C3.  after many trials, they return to the Promised Land

It can be clearly seen in these narrative structures that the role of the hiatus, in ritual terms, is that of the rite of passage, the initiation period that marks, in symbolic fashion, the change in status, the transformation from one social role or state of being to another (e.g., child to adult, outsider to member of the group). This is not to discount the role that actual trials, tests, and other hardships may play in the transition, as they serve to establish or reinforce, psychologically and sometimes physically, the value and reality of the transformation.

In mythic terms, this structure has become known as the hero's journey or hero's adventure, made famous by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and also known as the monomyth, because he claimed that the same basic structure is universal to all cultures. The basis structure he identified consists of three main elements: separation (e.g., the hero leaves home), initiation (e.g., the hero enters another realm, experiences tests and trials, leading to the bestowing of gifts, abilities, and/or a new status), and return (the hero returns to utilize what he has gained from the initiation and save the day, restoring the status quo or establishing a new status quo).

Understanding the mythic, non-rational element of initiation is the key to recognizing the role of the hiatus, and in the modern era this meant using rationality to realize the limits of rationality. With this in mind, let me return to the quote I began this essay with, but now provide the larger context of the entire paragraph:

The legendary hiatus between a no-more and a not-yet clearly indicated that freedom would not be the automatic result of liberation, that the end of the old is not necessarily the beginning of the new, that the notion of an all-powerful time continuum is an illusion. Tales of a transitory period—from bondage to freedom, from disaster to salvation—were all the more appealing because the legends chiefly concerned the deeds of great leaders, persons of world-historic significance who appeared on the stage of history precisely during such gaps of historical time. All those who pressed by exterior circumstances or motivated by radical utopian thought-trains, were not satisfied to change the world by the gradual reform of an old order (and this rejection of the gradual was precisely what transformed the men of action of the eighteenth century, the first century of a fully secularized intellectual elite, into the men of the revolutions) were almost logically forced to accept the possibility of a hiatus in the continuous flow of temporal sequence.

Note that concept of gaps in historical time, which brings to mind Eliade's distinction between the sacred and the profane. Historical time is a form of profane time, and sacred time represents a gap or break in that linear progression, one that takes us outside of history, connecting us instead in an eternal return to the time associated with a moment of creation or foundation. The revelation in Sinai is an example of such a time, and accordingly Deuteronomy states that all of the members of the House of Israel were present at that event, not just those alive at that time, but those not present, the generations of the future. This statement is included in the liturgy of the Passover Seder, which is a ritual reenactment of the exodus and revelation, which in turn becomes part of the reenactment of the Passion in Christianity, one of the primary examples of Campbell's monomyth.

Arendt's hiatus, then represents a rupture between two different states or stages, an interruption, a disruption linked to an eruption. In the parlance of chaos and complexity theory, it is a bifurcation point. Arendt's contemporary, Peter Drucker, a philosopher who pioneered the scholarly study of business and management, characterized the contemporary zeitgeist in the title of his 1969 book: The Age of Discontinuity. It is an age in which Newtonian physics was replaced by Einstein's relativity and Heisenberg's uncertainty, the phrase quantum leap becoming a metaphor drawn from subatomic physics for all forms of discontinuity. It is an age in which the fixed point of view that yielded perspective in art and the essay and novel in literature yielded to Cubism and subsequent forms of modern art, and stream of consciousness in writing.


Beginning in the 19th century, photography gave us the frozen, discontinuous moment, and the technique of montage in the motion picture gave us a series of shots and scenes whose connections have to be filled in by the audience. Telegraphy gave us the instantaneous transmission of messages that took them out of their natural context, the subject of the famous comment by Henry David Thoreau that connecting Maine and Texas to one another will not guarantee that they have anything sensible to share with each other. The wire services gave us the nonlinear, inverted pyramid style of newspaper reporting, which also was associated with the nonlinear look of the newspaper front page, a form that Marshall McLuhan referred to as a mosaic. Neil Postman criticized television's role in decontextualizing public discourse in Amusing Ourselves to Death, where he used the phrase, "in the context of no context," and I discuss this as well in my recently published follow-up to his work, Amazing Ourselves to Death.
The concept of the hiatus comes naturally to the premodern mind, schooled by myth and ritual within the context of oral culture. That same concept is repressed, in turn, by the modern mind, shaped by the linearity and rationality of literacy and typography. 

As the modern mind yields to a new, postmodern alternative, one that emerges out of the electronic media environment, we see the return of the repressed in the idea of the jump cut writ large.
There is psychological satisfaction in the deterministic view of history as the inevitable result of cause-effect relations in the Newtonian sense, as this provides a sense of closure and coherence consistent with the typographic mindset. And there is similar satisfaction in the view of history as entirely consisting of human decisions that are the product of free will, of human agency unfettered by outside constraints, which is also consistent with the individualism that emerges out of the literate mindset and print culture, and with a social rather that physical version of efficient causality. What we are only beginning to come to terms with is the understanding of formal causality, as discussed by Marshall and Eric McLuhan in Media and Formal Cause. What formal causality suggests is that history has a tendency to follow certain patterns, patterns that connect one state or stage to another, patterns that repeat again and again over time. This is the notion that history repeats itself, meaning that historical events tend to fall into certain patterns (repetition being the precondition for the existence of patterns), and that the goal, as McLuhan articulated in Understanding Media, is pattern recognition. This helps to clarify the famous remark by George Santayana, "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In other words, those who are blind to patterns will find it difficult to break out of them.

Campbell engages in pattern recognition in his identification of the heroic monomyth, as Arendt does in her discussion of the historical hiatus.  Recognizing the patterns are the first step in escaping them, and may even allow for the possibility of taking control and influencing them. This also means understanding that the tendency for phenomena to fall into patterns is a powerful one. It is a force akin to entropy, and perhaps a result of that very statistical tendency that is expressed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, as Terrence Deacon argues in Incomplete Nature. It follows that there are only certain points in history, certain moments, certain bifurcation points, when it is possible to make a difference, or to make a difference that makes a difference, to use Gregory Bateson's formulation, and change the course of history. The moment of transition, of initiation, the hiatus, represents such a moment.

McLuhan's concept of medium goes far beyond the ordinary sense of the word, as he relates it to the idea of gaps and intervals, the ground that surrounds the figure, and explains that his philosophy of media is not about transportation (of information), but transformation. The medium is the hiatus.

The particular pattern that has come to the fore in our time is that of the network, whether it's the decentralized computer network and the internet as the network of networks, or the highly centralized and hierarchical broadcast network, or the interpersonal network associated with Stanley Milgram's research (popularly known as six degrees of separation), or the neural networks that define brain structure and function, or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, etc. And it is not the nodes, which may be considered the content of the network, that defines the network, but the links that connect them, which function as the network medium, and which, in the systems view favored by Bateson, provide the structure for the network system, the interaction or relationship between the nodes. What matters is not the nodes, it's the modes.

Hiatus and link may seem like polar opposites, the break and the bridge, but they are two sides of the same coin, the medium that goes between, simultaneously separating and connecting. The boundary divides the system from its environment, allowing the system to maintain its identity as separate and distinct from the environment, keeping it from being absorbed by the environment. But the membrane also serves as a filter, engaged in the process of abstracting, to use Korzybski's favored term, letting through or bringing material, energy, and information from the environment into the system so that the system can maintain itself and survive. The boundary keeps the system in touch with its situation, keeps it contextualized within its environment.

The systems view emphasizes space over time, as does ecology, but the concept of the hiatus as a temporal interruption suggests an association with evolution as well. Darwin's view of evolution as continuous was consistent with Newtonian physics. The more recent modification of evolutionary theory put forth by Stephen Jay Gould, known as punctuated equilibrium, suggests that evolution occurs in fits and starts, in relatively rare and isolated periods of major change, surrounded by long periods of relative stability and stasis. Not surprisingly, this particular conception of discontinuity was introduced during the television era, in the early 1970s, just a few years after the publication of Peter Drucker's The Age of Discontinuity.

When you consider the extraordinary changes that we are experiencing in our time, technologically and ecologically, the latter underlined by the recent news concerning the United Nations' latest report on global warming, what we need is an understanding of the concept of change, a way to study the patterns of change, patterns that exist and persist across different levels, the micro and the macro, the physical, chemical, biological, psychological, and social, what Bateson referred to as metapatterns, the subject of further elaboration by biologist Tyler Volk in his book on the subject. Paul Watzlawick argued for the need to study change in and of itself in a little book co-authored by John H. Weakland and Richard Fisch, entitled Change: Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution, which considers the problem from the point of view of psychotherapy. Arendt gives us a philosophical entrée into the problem by introducing the pattern of the hiatus, the moment of discontinuity that leads to change, and possibly a moment in which we, as human agents, can have an influence on the direction of that change.

To have such an influence, we do need to have that break, to find a space and more importantly a time to pause and reflect, to evaluate and formulate. Arendt famously emphasizes the importance of thinking in and of itself, the importance not of the content of thought alone, but of the act of thinking, the medium of thinking, which requires an opening, a time out, a respite from the onslaught of 24/7/365. This underscores the value of sacred time, and it follows that it is no accident that during that period of initiation in the story of the exodus, there is the revelation at Sinai and the gift of divine law, the Torah or Law, and chief among them the Ten Commandments, which includes the fourth of the commandments, and the one presented in greatest detail, to observe the Sabbath day. This premodern ritual requires us to make the hiatus a regular part of our lives, to break the continuity of profane time on a weekly basis. From that foundation, other commandments establish the idea of the sabbatical year, and the sabbatical of sabbaticals, or jubilee year. Whether it's a Sabbath mandated by religious observance, or a new movement to engage in a Technology Sabbath, the hiatus functions as the response to the homogenization of time that was associated with efficient causality and literate linearity, and that continues to intensify in conjunction with the technological imperative of efficiency über alles.


To return one last time to the quote that I began with, the end of the old is not necessarily the beginning of the new because there may not be a new beginning at all, there may not be anything new to take the place of the old. The end of the old may be just that, the end, period, the end of it all. The presence of a hiatus to follow the end of the old serves as a promise that something new will begin to take its place after the hiatus is over. And the presence of a hiatus in our lives, individually and collectively, may also serve as a promise that we will not inevitably rush towards an end of the old that will also be an end of it all, that we will be able to find the opening to begin something new, that we will be able to make the transition to something better, that both survival and progress are possible, through an understanding of the processes of continuity and change.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Rabbi’s Top Ten: The Best of Everything Jewish

Did you know that our own Rabbi Schwartz is now writing an online column, in other words a blog, for the Times of Israel? His first entry, dated April 13, is entitled The Rabbi’s Top Ten: The Best of Everything Jewish.  You can see it over on their site by clicking on the title, or read it here:

With apologies to (the retiring) David Letterman, I love top ten lists. 
Maybe it’s genetic….  I’ve been making lists all my life. So does my mother. I’m one of those people who have a daily to-do list. I write out a fresh one every day. I have short range lists and medium range lists and long range lists. I have lists of books to read and books I have already read. Sometimes I even make a list of my lists.
Maybe it’s religious…. I am a rabbi and have been for a long time. As a rabbi I deal with lists of people and lists of prayers and lists of Torah portions. I read the Bible quite a bit and there sure are lots of lists in Scripture. Take the Ten Commandments for example. Now that may be the ultimate Top Ten!
Maybe it’s because I’m a teacher….  I like to use lists in the classroom. They are a practical and useful way to organize and prioritize information. Lists, for example, naturally lend themselves to ranking. My wife says that I am obsessed with rankings; both useful and not-so-useful… like the greatest tennis players of all time, the greatest basketball players of all time, the greatest movies of all time, the greatest television shows of all time, the greatest presidents of all time…you get the point.
So this new blog (my first) is a labor of love. It’s just plain fun. At the same time it’s harder than you think, because being a perfectionist and a list maker can be a dangerous combination. I had to justify all my lists and rankings to myself. Only you will judge if I got it right. This collection is entirely personal and subjective. Now l invite you to lend a hand in making them better. I’m happy to hear your comments. Believe it or not I already have 52 top ten lists covering units like: books, movers and shakers, thinkers and dreamers, the arts, history, geography, celebration, vocabulary… even a whole section called Jewish macho that deals with soldiers, spies, rebels, criminals and athletes. So, yes, if all goes well, I plan to share one list a week… for a year (starting next week). That is, unless you send me a suggestion for a new top ten list… that makes my top ten.

Monday, April 21, 2014

When You Believe

As we bring our Passover festival to a close, it seems only fitting to share one more video from Steven Spielberg's animated feature film, The Prince of Egypt. "When You Believe" is the signature song and most memorable musical piece from the film, one that accompanies a scene depicting the exodus from Egypt:

The message that there can be miracles is an important one, whether you accept the traditional belief that miracles are acts of God, or take a more secular view that miracles begin with us. In the words of  Theodor Herzl, the 19th century founder of the Zionist movement, "if you will it, it is no dream!" 

Chag sameach, happy Passover!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Plagues

Let us continue our celebration of Passover with another excerpt from Spielberg's Prince of Egypt, this time a musical depiction of the ten plagues:

This depiction brings out the tragic nature of the conflict, as one of brother versus brother. And it shows us two opposing points of view. but with a singular sense of justice, the basis and objective of the liberation and exodus from Egypt, which will later be manifested in the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Deliver Us!

As we continue to observe the week-long Festival of Pesach, here is an excerpt from Steven Spielberg's animated feature, The Prince of Egypt, featuring the song, "Deliver Us" that opens the film:

"Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm" (Deuteronomy 5:15).

Friday, April 18, 2014

Pesach Blues (An Orthodox Perspective)

As Reform Jews, we each make our individual decisions on how traditional we'll be in our approach to the Passover holiday. But here's a comedic peak into the Orthodox community's traditional spring cleaning and preparations that precede Pesach, told from a women's point of view (albeit by a man), with an entertaining bit of song and dance:

Here's what it says about The Pesach Blues from Oorah's Shmorg over on YouTube:

Put some HUMOR in your Pesach preparations! Watch "The Pesach Blues" from Oorah's Shmorg 5 DVD, and see Abie Rottenberg's work come to life with this hilarious video!
Get this year's Shmorg today at

Whether or not you go to such lengths prior to Passover, or you remember your parents doing so, we can certainly appreciate the hard work, dedication, and the strong sense of faith and tradition that this video reflects, as well as the typically Jewish way of expressing through good humor! And whatever your perspective, we hope you have been having a zissen Pesach!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Passover Zoo for You!

Here's a zoological Passover greeting from Tel Aviv University:

And here's what they have to say over on their YouTube page:

Get into the holiday groove with Tel Aviv University's I. Meier Segals Garden for Zoological Research. The zoo is part of the University's massive biodiversity, conservation and sustainability research and teaching complex that includes the Steinhardt National Natural History Museum and Research Center, the Porter School of Environmental Studies Building, the Botanic Gardens, the Nature Campus educational outreach program, and more.

So we get a bit of Noah added on to the story of Moses, Pharaoh, and the Israelites. Chag sameach!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Passover Pilgrimage (Virtually Speaking)

Originally, Jews celebrated Passover by making a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, where a Paschal Lamb was offered as a sacrifice to God, which we now remember through the symbol of the shank bone on the Seder plate. So it was not only appropriate, but indeed delightful to come across this YouTube video, A Virtual Passover Pilgrimage to Jerusalem's Old City. Here is what they have to say about it:

Passover, one of Judaism's three pilgrimage festivals, commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Throughout the holiday, and especially at the festive Seder dinner, Jews around the world relive the experiences of their ancestors, passing on their traditions to the next generation.

For thousands of years, every Seder has ended with the prayer "Next year in Jerusalem," expressing the eternal tie between the Jewish people and their capital, the holy city of Jerusalem. This is the perfect time to take a virtual stroll through Jewish sites in Jerusalem's Old City.

This year (2014), the seven day holiday is celebrated from sundown on Monday, April 15th until nightfall on Monday, April 21nd. (Outside Israel, the holiday is observed for eight days).

Eight days is the traditional period of observance, but in Reform Judaism we consider the original seven days to be sufficient, or as we say at the Seder, dayenu! And for those of us unable to hop on a plane and spend the Pesach holiday in Jerusalem, this virtual tour of the Old City will be sufficient as well:

The video is brought to us by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so click on the link and go take a look. And for those of you who are social media minded, here is some additional information they provide:

Visit the MFA's Social Media Channels:

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And of course there's <>. Enjoy the tour, and have a happy Passover, Pilgrim!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

60 Second Seder

For anyone who's ever complained that the Passover Seder goes on for too long, here's a one minute summary of the whole megillah:

And here's the write-up from YouTube:

Shalom and welcome to Parsha in 60 Seconds

Today's portion is BONUS ROUND! Passover

"Why is this night different from all other nights?" Passover, or Pesach is one of the most significant Jewish holidays. It celebrates the Exodus narrative in which God uses Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. You know the story; Moses is adopted by Pharaohs daughter, grows up, sees injustice, kills an Egyptian, runs away, meets his wife, meets God, goes back to Egypt, unleashes the power of God in 10 plagues, splits the red sea, and receives the commandments of God.

In the final plague, the death of the first born, the Angel of death "Passed Over" all homes marked with the blood of the lamb. Thus, the name Passover.

Immediately after this event of many miracles, plagues, and power of God, God commanded the Jewish people to remember what was done by having a meal called a Seder. Jewish people today still participate in the Seder in which friends and family and entire communities come together to remember what God did for the people.

Many items of great significance are used in the meal and all are used to tell this amazing story.


And that is Passover in 60 seconds

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Of course, Pesach is a time when we take a break from our hurried lives and busy schedules, and take time to spend with family, friends, and in remembrance and appreciation of our history and tradition.

Chag sameach from Congregation Adas Emuno on this first day of Passover, and for the second night and second Seder! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Passover!

With the first Seder tonight, we at Adas Emuno wish you all a very Happy Passover holiday. And in celebration of the festival, here is one of our favorite videos that retells the story of the exodus in an altogether original fashion:

And join us tomorrow morning, Tuesday April 15, at 10 AM for our community Passover morning service, held in conjunction with our sister shuls here in Bergen County, Temple Sinai of Tenafly and Temple Emeth of Teaneck.