April 14, 2008
Preparing for one of the most important holidays in the Jewish tradition, students at the North Tahoe Hebrew School sang songs, recited blessings in Hebrew, told the traditional story of the Passover and searched high and low for the Afikoman.
The students were attending a mock Passover Seder held at the Tahoe Vista congregation last week in anticipation of the actual traditional dinner this weekend that celebrates the ancient story of the Jews’ liberation from Egyptian slavery.
The Seder is a tradition that keeps the entire family involved, said Rabbi Anne Persin. To peak the curiosity of the children, rituals and symbolism were incorporated into many facets of the Passover tradition.
The hunt for the Afikoman, the Greek word for dessert, is one such symbolic tradition, Rabbi Persin said.
At the beginning of the meal, a broken piece of matzah is hidden. Later in the evening, the Seder host asks the children to find the Afikoman. The one who finds the treasured piece of flat bread can ransom it to the host for a prize.
“The meal can’t end until the Afikoman is found,” Rabbi Persin said. “Because it’s the last thing we eat.”
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At the school’s mock Seder, Rabbi Persin rewarded the found Afikoman with some chocolate.
Kids dipped parsley into saltwater, ate “a very interesting sandwich” of maror and charosets on matzah ” an cinnamon apple dish on flat bread with horseradish ” and drank four cups of grape juice, in the place of wine, for the four promises God made to his people.
“You see, for every cup of wine, we have a statement that God made about freeing us,” Rabbi Persin said to her students.
“Julie Brown, Sierra Sun