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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Seder’

Hundreds at Bangkok Chabad Passover Seder

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

More than 400 people sang their way through the Haggadah on the first night of Passover at the first seder held this year at the Chabad House of Bangkok, Thailand.

Dozens of children ascended special stage set up in the hall where the seder was held in order to sing the traditional “Ma Nishtana” – the Four Questions that launch the story explaining the reason for the celebration of Passover.

For those with slim budgets, the Chabad of Bangkok website stated clearly that everyone was welcome regardless of ability to pay. “Please contact the Rabbi in confidence if the charge is beyond your means,” the statement on Chabad’s “JewishThailand.com” site advised. “‘All who are hungry may come and eat’ is the theme of Passover and it will be our pleasure to host you regardless of financial ability.”

A seder for the second night was made available with the Kantor Family according to the announcement, sponsored by the Jewish Association of Thailand. “No charge but please RSVP,” the notice read.

Hebrew-language Passover seders were conducted in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Phuket.

President Obama’s Passover Statement

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014).

As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House.

Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world.

On Tuesday, just as we have every year of my presidency, my family will join the millions taking part in the ancient tradition of the Seder. We will enjoy the company of friends and loved ones, retell a timeless story, and give thanks for the freedom we are so blessed to enjoy.

Yet even as we celebrate, our prayers will be with the people of Overland Park, Kansas and the family and friends of the three innocent people who were killed when a gunman, just one day before Passover, opened fire at a Jewish community center and retirement home on Sunday. As Americans, we will continue to stand united against this kind of terrible violence, which has no place in our society. We will continue to come together across faiths to combat the ignorance and intolerance, including anti-Semitism, that can lead to hatred and violence. And we will never lose faith that compassion and justice will ultimately triumph over hate and fear.

For that is one of the great lessons of the Exodus. The tale of the Hebrew slaves and their flight from Egypt carries the hope and promise that the Jewish people have held in their hearts for thousands of years, and it is has inspired countless generations in their own struggles for freedom around the globe.

In America, the Passover story has always had special meaning. We come from different places and diverse backgrounds, but we are bound together by a journey from bondage to liberty enshrined in our founding documents and continued in each generation. As we were so painfully reminded on Sunday, our world is still in need of repair, but the story of the Exodus teaches us that with patience, determination, and abundant faith, a brighter future is possible.

Chag Sameach.

New Study: Nearly Every Israeli will Eat Matza and Keep Kosher on Pesach Eve

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

90% of Israeli Jews will participate in a Passover Seder, 80% of self-defined secular Jews said they believe in God, according to a study done by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.

While 55% said they would make sure to only eat kosher during the entire holiday, nearly all said they would make sure to eat Matzah and only kosher food on Pesach night.

Those are some pretty good numbers.

Manischewitz Sold to Equity Firm

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The Manischewitz Company, well known for its wine and Passover foods, has been sold a week before the Passover holiday.

Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity firm Bain Capital, purchased the Newark, N.J.-based purveyor of kosher foods for an undisclosed price, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, less than a day after the deal had been first disclosed by The New York Times.

Under its new owner, Manischewitz is expected to promote kosher as an indication of quality food rather than just a religious designation, according to the Times.

“This investment reflects our confidence in the Manischewitz brands and team,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement last week. “Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible. We believe Manischewitz is well positioned to grow due to rising mainstream interest in kosher foods.”

Decades ago, Manischewitz was virtually the only wine that was poured into cups at the Shabbat table every Friday night and for the Seder on the first night of Passover.

Its unbelievably sweet Concord wine made it the butt of jokes, but since there was not much else around in the kosher wine business, the sticky liquid was accepted as the standard.

The Manischewitz Company  was founded by Rabbi Dov Behr Manischewitz, in 1888. It later began producing matzo, gefilte fish and borscht.

“Manischewitz has earned a position as one of the most highly recognized brands in the world, and it has distinguished itself through a passionate commitment to producing the highest quality kosher products possible,” Sankaty Advisors said in a statement, disclosing no terms of the deal.

JTA contributed to this report.

Chabad Says ‘No Way We Won’t Make a Seder’ in Katmandu

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Chabad-Lubavitch officials say “there’s no way in the world, come Passover we will not make a seder for the thousands of Jews who are relying on us” this year in Katmandu, Nepal.

The statement comes in response to the statement by Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor earlier in the week that there would be no seder this year due to the inability of Israel’s embassy to provide the supplies in time.

The embassy, along with every other Israeli Foreign Ministry facility, is closed to due to a general labor strike. The action follows a year-long struggle by ministry workers to convince the Finance Ministry to raise salaries and pension levels, particular for those who must work abroad.

Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, director at the New York-based World Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters, reassured concerned travelers the internationally-renowned ‘Largest Seder in the World’ would take place as expected.

Actually, there are three: the main seder, held in Katmandu, hosts some 1,500 guests. Another 800 people generally show up for the Passover meal held in Pokhara, and a third seder is held by Chabad of Nepal in remote Manang, some 11,614 above sea level. Seder provisions and rabbinical students are airlifted to that location – inaccessible by road – by helicopter for the occasion.

A second seder for several hundred guests is held at the Chabad House in Katmandu on the second night of the holiday, during which special “kosher for Passover” foods are consumed.

At least 10,000 people will have joined emissaries Rabbi Chezki and Chani Lifshitz in Nepal for a Passover meal by the time the holiday is over, they estimate.

New York is backing the effort all the way.

“We are sending rabbinical students as we do every year to assist [the emissaries] and we are confident that we will find some kind of solution to this crisis so that the seders will take place as always,” Rabbi Kotlarsky told Lubavitch.com.

A shipping container filled with $40,000 worth of matzohs, wine, grape juice, haggadahs, kosher-for-Passover foodstuffs and other holiday necessities is sitting in the port at Calcutta, India but has yet to be released, according to Chabad officials.

Nevertheless, emissary Chani Lifshitz is confident things will work out as they do each year. “Anyone who knows us and the kinds of miracles that we survive on, knows that there’s no way in the world, come Passover, we will not make a seder for the thousands of Jews who are relying on us,” she said. But this year’s miracle will have to be extra-special – if the container is not released this week, supplies will need to arrive another way.

“Two weeks by sea from Calcutta, and two weeks by truck to Nepal,” Lifshitz explains, adding that Chabad of Nepal is also being billed $150 per day in holding fees at the port.

The “Largest Seder in the World’ has been taking place in Nepal for the past ten years – and the Chabad House in Katmandu has been likewise been the place to go for Israeli backpackers moving through Nepal. The Lifshitz couple was the inspiration for the popular Israeli television series “Katmandu” in 2012.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Says ‘No Choice’ on Closing Chabad’s Nepal Seder

Monday, March 24th, 2014

A general strike by Israel’s Foreign Ministry this year is having an unexpected effect on Jews thousands of miles away.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, the labor action has prevented the far-flung Israeli embassy from providing the much-needed goods for the Chabad-Lubavitch seder in Nepal — a world-famous event that draws nearly a thousand people annually to Katmandu. Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in Israel and New York could not be reached for comment.

Palmor said in an interview with The Jewish Press today (Monday), “The window is closed. I spoke with the ambassador yesterday and he explained they need a full month to be able to prepare for this event, and we are just three weeks away from Pesach.

“There is nothing that can be done about it,” he said.

But it’s not only the embassy in Nepal that has been affected by the strike. “Every embassy around the world is closed,” Palmor said.

“This means that every diplomatic function has been shut down. There are no diplomatic cables, no intelligence analyses or negotiations that we handle are being carried out, no visas or passports being processed, no public relations or other statements being made to foreign media in countries around the world – anything that has to do with foreign relations is stopped.”

The strike follows a year-long effort by Foreign Ministry workers to persuade the Finance Ministry to raise shrinking salaries and dropping pensions to “realistic levels.”

According to Palmor, the average gross monthly salary for a ministry worker hovers at around NIS 11,000 (approx. USD 3,000) – less than that of an experienced secretary in New York City. “In fact, an analyst makes less,” he said pointedly. “And if you add the expense of raising a family and the loss of a second income when the employee’s spouse must leave their job in Israel, for many of our staff it is simply not worth it to go abroad anymore. We are losing some of our best staff, and we have been unable to make government finance people come to their senses about this any other way.”

While ministry workers are struggling to wake up the Finance Ministry – and their own boss, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman – Chabad emissary Rabbi Chezky Lifshitz still has a problem. Regardless, he will have to figure out how to feed 1,000 people on the first night of Passover, April 14, in Katmandu, with all the kosher-for-Pesach supplies necessary to grace the longest seder table in the world.

Mini-Forest to be Planted in Tel Aviv on Tu B’Shvat

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Three-meter-long trees will be placed at Rabin Square to create a mini-forest in the center of Tel Aviv on Tu B’Shvat, which falls on Thursday this year.

Pupils from all over the city will come to celebrate the holiday by writing their wishes for this year and hanging them on the trees.

Traditionalists can still plant trees in events throughout the country sponsored by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). The age of high-tech now enables people to “plant” a tee via a “click and plant” (and pay) program on the JNF’s website.

An ecological element has been added to the holiday in recent years with an emphasis on conservation.

Dried fruits are popular in Israel on Tu B’Shvat, but if you really want to be Zionist, you might have to stay away from the dried figs unless you can find the few that actually are picked and processed in Israel and not Turkey.

Those who want a trial run for the Passover Seder, or simply want to follow the Kabbalistic custom from the 16th or 17th century, can sit down with four cups of wine or grape juice for the Tu B’Shvat Seder, compiled by the Kabbalists from Tsfat (Safed).

A Very Obama Passover

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Ever since his first campaign for President, President Obama has been running a Passover Seder, in which he celebrates the holiday of the Israel’s freedom, along with staff members and their families.

Along with the Seder, President Obama released this official statement:

 

Statement from the President on Passover

As we prepare for our fifth Seder in the White House, Michelle and I send our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world.

Tonight, Jewish families will gather with family and friends to celebrate with songs, wine, and food. They will read from the Haggadah, and retell the story that makes this holiday so powerful.

Last week, I visited the state of Israel for the third time, my first as President. I reaffirmed our countries’ unbreakable bonds with Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres. I had the chance to speak directly with young Israelis about the future they wanted for their country, their region, and the world. And I saw once again how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah, lihyot ‘am chofshi be’artzeinu, “To be a free people in our land.”

Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won. But even as we give thanks, we are called to look to the future. We are reminded that responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins. As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world. Chag sameach.

No news on freedom for Pollard.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/a-very-obama-passover/2013/03/26/

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