Pesach

We must learn to share the bread of freedom

By Jonathan Wittenberg, April 7, 2009

Stories need careful handling. Stories may be the secret of survival; stories can also kill. The way we tell our people’s story, how we cast our national narrative, the place we give to self, to others and to God, not only reflects but determines our destiny.

Seder is the great night of the Jewish story. We have always been mindful of how we tell it. The Haggadah is Judaism’s most frequently printed, most variously interpreted, and most fascinatingly subverted, text.

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Matzah sent to Bahrain

By James Martin, April 7, 2009

One of the world’s most isolated Jewish communities will celebrate Pesach thanks to a parcel from Edgware’s Lubavitch emissary.

The parcel contains Pesach supplies for 15 families in Bahrain and was sent by air after special permission was gained from the Bahraini Embassy in London.

Rabbi Leivi Sudack, of the Lubavitch movement, said: “We are helping the community in Bahrain, which is very small and detached from the wider Jewish world, to celebrate Pesach fully.

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But one Arab baker doesn’t care. He’s rushed off his feet at Pesach

By Ben Lynfield, April 7, 2009

Bread may be off the shelves for Passover in Jerusalem but for the Arab village of Abu Ghosh, it means a boost in trade.

Passover is the busiest week of the year, according to Thabet Abu Ghosh, owner of the 59-year-old Caravan restaurant, the oldest among the town’s many eateries catering mostly to Jewish Israelis. “We get about 50 per cent more customers. We have to cook more food, prepare more food, and order more pita.”

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Rabbis use code to bar chametz

By Anshel Pfeffer, April 7, 2009

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate is turning to barcode technology in the Passover struggle against leavened products.

Every year, Israeli supermarkets with a kashrut certificate “sell” all the chametz products in stock to a non-Jew on the eve of the festival. The nominal sale is automatically cancelled when Pesach ends and the chametz reverts to the supermarkets’ ownership.

During the week-long festival, most of the chametz goods remain on covered-up shelves.

In many stores, shoppers can simply reach under the covers, take out chametz and pay for it at the tills.

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The Pesach question: how does it feel to be hated?

By Rabbi Jeremy Rosen, April 2, 2009

Nothing typifies the ambivalence of Jewish life today more than the famous midrash repeated in the Talmud. Rebbi Shmuel Bar Nachman, in the name of Rebbi Yonatan, said at the Red Sea: “The angels wanted to sing a song before the Holy One, Blessed is He, but He rebuked them, saying ‘My handiwork is drowning in the sea and you want to sing to me?’ Rebbi Yose Ben Hanina said: ‘Even if He will not rejoice, He allows others to’” (Sanhedrin 39b).

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Why we bless the sun

By Rabbi David Hulbert, March 26, 2009

Why is this year’s erev Pesach different from all others? Because this year, Wednesday April 8, will be the day on which Jews have the rare opportunity to recite the prayers of the service of blessing the sun, or, rather, the prayers by which we bless the Creator of the sun.

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Tesco profits from post-Pesach opening

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 1, 2008

Shoppers crowded around the entrance to the Tesco in Prestwich late on Sunday evening in anticipation of a comprehensive post-Pesach stock-up.

For the North Manchester store was one of two Tesco branches in England — Brent Cross was the other — to trade from one minute past midnight to cater for the Jewish market.

Trolleys at the ready, there was a stampede as the doors opened, with customers first descending on the boxes of cereal astutely placed near the entrance by the store management.

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Former Staines minister returns for seder demonstration

May 1, 2008

Former Staines Synagogue minister Rabbi Yehuda Black, now at Kenton, returned to conduct a demonstration seder for almost 100 people organised to promote the local Council of Christians and Jews. CCJ chief executive David Gifford addressed the gathering. Guests enjoyed the participation of two of Rabbi Black’s sons, who as well as asking the four questions, answered those put to them by their father.

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Sacks gives Pesach address to Woodside

May 1, 2008

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks gave a Pesach-related address to over 100 members of Woodside Park Synagogue adult education committee. Sir Jonathan’s talk was the final in a season which also featured Lady Jakobovits, Lord Trimble and Israeli ambassador Ron Prosor.

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Pesach - for men only

By Simon Round, April 24, 2008

In order to stem the tide of alienated men leaving Judaism, the Reform movement in America has come up with a wizard wheeze — the male-only haggadah.

Rabbis Dan Moskovitz and Perry Netter have adapted the Exodus story to make religion more relevant to modern men’s lives. So, the 10 plagues now include prostate cancer, hair loss, weight gain and impotence, and the four questions are given a gender twist, for instance: “Why is it that, no matter how old I get, I don’t understand women?”

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