Shavei Israel communities prepare for Pesach

Shavei Israel communities prepare for Pesach

Pesach is coming and Shavei Israel-supported communities around the world are getting ready! Here’s a round up of what they have planned in the run up to the Jewish world’s national holiday of liberation.

Bnei Menashe

Unknown-1The youngest members of the Bnei Menashe communities living in Tiberias and Upper Nazareth got into the matzah swing of things early. We have a few pictures of Bnei Menashe children (and a few of their parents) rolling, kneading, baking – and eating – matzah. Back in India, the nearly 7,000 Bnei Menashe waiting for their own turn at aliyah will be participating in a variety of Pesach activities as well as group and family Seders. Here are a few more:

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Poland

Lodz cleaning for Pesach servicesOur emissaries Miriam and Rabbi David Szychowski organized a pre-Pesach workshop for community members in Lodz. Rabbi Szychowski is also making house calls to help community members clean for the holiday. (See the flyer at the left). Miriam writes that on Pesach itself they are planning all kinds of games for the children and words of Torah for everyone

In Krakow, our emissary Rabbi Avi Baumol took the community in a more artistic direction with a ceramics workshop (to make Seder plates) and a beer tasting evening (to get rid of any extra beer, which is filled with chametz – undrinkable on the holiday). Rabbi Baumol expects up to 160 people will come together at the Jewish Community Center for a group Seder, which he will lead.

Shavei Israel’s third Polish emissary, Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis, has been deeply involved in the final preparations to train six young Polish Jews to lead Seders in small Jewish communities that lack rabbis. The training program, which has been meeting regularly since January under Rabbi Ellis’s supervision, is called Aravim. We wrote about it here. Rabbi Ellis also ran a “model Seder” for families on Sunday.

Colombia

Rabbi Shimon Yehoshua, Shavei Israel’s emissary to Colombia, will be leading the communal Seder in Bogota this year. One hundred people are expected to participate, including several families from nearby Ecuador who have been forced to relocate due to the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the country on Saturday. 413 people were killed and more than 2,500 injured. The community also organized a workshop in the weeks before the holiday on how to clean for Pesach.

Chile

The children of the Bnei Anousim community of Chile have taken on the “theatrical” task of representing the Exodus from Egypt as part of this year’s group Seder. Classes in Jewish Law for the holiday and how to read the Haggadah were also held in the weeks prior to the Pesach. That the community came out for class was an achievement in itself – a large flood rendered most roads impassable. We have a picture here.

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El Salvador

Rabbi Yitzhak Aboud Shavei Israel’s emissary to El Salvador, has been teaching classes all week to community members about the laws of the Passover holiday. The big communal celebration will be in the main Beit Israel center in San Salvador – it’s a potluck this year and participants are encouraged to bring their own food and matzot.

China

The five women from Kaifeng China who Shavei Israel helped make aliyah earlier this year are looking forward to their first Passover in the Holy Land. They will be celebrating with their adopted families. Their “real” families back home will be holding individual Seders at home (no communal one this year) as they too dream about “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Portugal

Members of the Portuguese Bnei Anousim community will be flocking to Belmonte where Shavei Israel’s emissary Rabbi Elisha Salas will be leading the community Seder. All of Rabbi Salas’s regular students are planning to be there. Many will stay overnight at Shavei Israel’s center in Belmonte, Beit Ha’anousim.

Palma de Mallorca

Pesach desserts in Palma de Mallorca

Shavei Israel’s emissary Rabbi Nissan Ben-Avraham has been busy teaching and organizing classes on Pesach in the weeks prior to the holiday. By far the most scrumptious of these was a hands-on workshop on how to make kosher for Pesach deserts led by Tony Pina, a local Bnei Anousim who returned to his roots with Shavei Israel’s help He is a well-known chef in Spain.

Here are a few more pictures of the Palma desserts:

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Brian Blum
Brian Blum
brianblum@gmail.com