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soulwise HOLIDAY Magazine Winnipeg’s Jewish Holiday Magazine | Compliments of Chabad-Lubavitch


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INSIDE: Passover Step-By-Step Exclusive: Your Personal Exodus Book Excerpt: The Women Who Ruined Pharaoh’s Plan Find a Seder Near You Story: Elijah’s Visit to the Doctor What To Read This Passover




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© 2014 by soulwise Magazine (over 250,000 copies printed internationally. all right reserved including the right to reproduce any portion of this magazine in any form without prior written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages printed in the usa EDITOr-IN-ChIEF: Rabbi Shmuel Marcus MaNaGING EDITOr: Doba Lieberman EDITOr: Bluma Marcus DISTrIbuTION: Rabbi Avraham Green CrEaTIvE DIrECTOr: Nechama Marcus DESIGN: Zalmy Berkowitz phOTOGraphY: Zalmy Berkowitz, SECTION New Aron Kodesh EDITOrS: Rabbi Chaim Silver, Shira Gold, Dr. (rendering) Arnie Gotfryd, Mendy Rimler WEbSITE:

The Rebbe repliedwas withfirst a beautiful letter, which there he writes When Chanukah established as ain holiday, were that threemoney options for comes but Jewish education cannot putevery on hold. child of tohow toand lightgoes candles. The basic requirement wasbe that familyThe light a single candle, day will be an adult tomorrow. The yearsa single that shape child’s suffice world to do every night of Chanukah. Even on theformative eighth night, candlea would outlook are extremely sensitive; daydoing wasted a day lost And a be lit the Mitzvah. A secondtime and better levela of theisMitzvah wasforever. that a candle day in a child’s lifeofthat filled A with Jewish content willfor forever havewould a positive for each member theisfamily. family of four people, example, light four influence, on that child and onthe generations to come. candles every night, including last. This is very much the Passover. Jews by were Egypt forthat hundreds of of But the preferred andlesson highestoflevel suggested theinsages was the number candles light to the number of”that Chanukah. years. Onwethe dayshould of thecorrespond Exodus, they “fled in haste. Andday theofsages tell us,Every “As day we add another candle, that on the eighth day, them we light candles. soon as the moment of theso Exodus arrived, G-d took out eight of Egypt. He didPreferably, not everythem childback in the lights their” own eight candles. keep forfamily even one second.

It is this theEgyptians highest level andnot best way to perform Mitzvah What waslast theoption, rush? The could have relented; theirthe power had that has become the standard way that Jews light the candles in every community around already been crushed by the Ten Plagues. Wouldn’t it have been more pleasant the globe. No other Mitzvah enjoys such stature. There are Jews that will demonstrate for the Jews to have left leisurely, as a truly free nation? exceptional diligence in the way they perform every Mitzvah, but the majority of The sages explain that thewith hastedoing was not of fear thatofthe Egyptians would Only observant Jews are content theout very basics Jewish observance. relent, but rather out of concern that Jews themselves would relent. After beingin the Chanukah has this unique status in that every Jew strives to do the Mitzvah steeped in a depraved idolatrous culture for so long, there was an inherent danvery best way. ger that some Jews would refuse to leave. Indeed, later on during their sojourn That is because Chanukah is all about the love of Mitzvot. The Greek-Syrian in the wilderness, there were Jews that wanted to return to Egypt. oppressors would have left the Jews unharmed, would they be willing to abandon their So it wasofmost important seize the moment and remove the Jews from observance Judaism. But thetoGreeks banned the observance of Kosher and Shabbat, that environment andmarriage to raise them up study to a new level of spiritual greatness circumcision, Jewish and the of Torah under the penalty of with death. their acceptance of the Torah at Sinai. That is what could not wait even one It was their deep love of Judaism that motivated Jews to risk their lives and fight moment. valiantly for the freedom to live as Jews. When the Maccabees won the battle, the climax of theirofjoy was when the ability perform the precepts of The lesson Passover to ourthey timeregained is very clear. We aretoblessed in Winnipeg Judaism. Their true joy was realized when they wereJewish miraculously to rededicate with marvelous learning opportunities at Chabad’s Learningable Centre for and kindle the Menorah. Jews of all ages. There is no other place like this in Winnipeg. Many WinnipeggersSo already knowisthis. are that the ones who were fortunate enough Chanukah the They holiday celebrates the love of Judaism andtoitshave Mitzvot. participated in the intellectually stimulating JLI lecture series or those whose And that is why we add another candle every night, because it is only when we do the children drewlove excitement Chabad’s Mitzvah andand Parsha programs. Mitzvot with and joy from that Jewish life can flourish grow. Pesach us to of take the jump. Today isLubavitch the day; seize the moment and word That isinspires the essence Chabad-Lubavitch. is from the Russian get personally involved in Chabad! “Luba” that means love, because the city of Lubavitch was established to promote the loveWishing of Judaism. Andyours Chabad is theand Hebrew you and a happy kosheracronym Pesach! for Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge—because the key to developing appreciation and love of the Mitzvot is by deepening one`s knowledge and understanding of Judaism.

Chabad`s new Jewish Learning Centre inspires the love of Judaism, so that this community can continue to flourish and grow, adding more more “candles. Rabbiand Avrohom Altein, ” We welcome you this Chanukah, to share Chabad`s enthusiasm. Share the joy, the warmth Executive Director and the love by joining us in the new Jewish Learning Centre. A

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Rabbi Rabbi&&Mrs. Mrs.Avrohom ShmulyAltein Altein Rabbi & Executive Director Chabad Torah Tots Jewish Learning Insitute,

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Rabbi & Mrs. Boruch Heidingsfeld Camp Gan Israel, Family & Youth Programs


ome years ago, a prominent Winnipeg businessman conferred with the Lubavitch Rebbe about the possibility of expanding the scope of Chabad in Winnipeg. He told the Rebbe about his intention to assist with the costs of constructing a building Chabadremarked, but he expressed concern about financial he sixth Rebbe offor Lubavitch “We must listen carefully to the story constraints and said that it would have to wait until his economic situation that the Chanukah candles tell us.” Let’s take a careful look at how weimlight the proves. candles, the Mitzvah that is central to celebrating Chanukah.


dedicated to the love and inspiration of the Rabbi & Mrs. Avrohom Altein Rabbi & Executive Directorrebbe lubavitcher





Happy Chanukah! Rabbi Avrohom Altein

soulmarket By Shira Gold


he first recorded version of the complete order of the Haggadah is in the Siddur of Rav Amram Gaon (9th century scholar) – manuscripts of which were found in the ancient Cairo genizah archive – and it appears as well in a prayer book compiled by Saadia Gaon (10th century), in Maimonides’ works, in Machzor Vitri, who was an important disciple of Rashi, and more. Considering the richness of tradition and culture surrounding the Passover Seder and the vivid biblical scenes described in the Haggadah, it comes as no surprise that medieval Jewish artists would produce illustrated Haggadahs. Some notable ones are “The Golden Haggadah” (Barcelona c. 1320) and the “Sarajevo Haggadah” (late 14th century). The oldest and likely the first printed Haggadah was produced in Guadalajara, Spain. Lacking exact evidence, experts speculate the printing to have been done in 1482. It is currently housed in the Jewish National university Library in Jerusalem, Israel. By 1486 the Haggadah was in certainly print, a product of the Italian-Jewish Soncino family’s printing press. With an estimated 7,000 editions of the Passover Haggadah to date, often the choice of which Haggadah to use Seder night is as intrinsic a part of the Passover tradition - and a source of good-natured debate - as the matzo and wine. Yet selecting the perfect Haggadah for one’s needs, from slim paper-back editions to scholarly tomes occupying several volumes, can be a daunting experience. “The reading of the Haggadah has always been an experiential activity,” says Rabbi Yosef B. Friedman, director of Chabad’s publishing arm, the Kehot Publication Society. “With that in mind, we offer a series of Haggados that will suit the needs of everyone - from the Seder novice to the seasoned scholar.”

Haggadah For Passover

Annotated Edition Publisher: Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch Format: 4.5” x 6.5” Paperback, 112pp ISBN: 0-8266-010137 Language: Hebrew / English For those conducting or participating in a Seder for the first time, the elaborate observances of the evening can be daunting. This


compact volume, printed in crisp, clear type, with a splash-proof cover, is designed with clarity and simplicity in mind. The perfect solution for family and communal Seders, each part of the Seder is illuminated with clear, stepby-step instructions, guiding the participant through the often-times complicated order of the Seder night. Also available in compact size and in Hebrew/French.

The Kittsee Haggadah

Publisher: Kehot Publication Society Format: 8” x 11.5” Hardcover, 50pp Language: Hebrew The perfect companion for the collector, artist or historian in everyone, this painstakingly detailed photographic reproduction of the magnificent 250-year-old Kittsee Haggadah features thirteen evocative illustrations and splendid illuminations. Selected from the 2000 editions of the Haggadah, spanning 450 years, housed at the Central Lubavitch Library, at Lubavitch Headquarters in New York, the original Kittsee Haggadah was hand-written and illustrated on parchment by famed calligrapher Chaim ben Asher of Kittsee, an Austrian hamlet bordering Bratislava, Slovakia in 1760. Hardbound and replete with authentic details from cover to cover including facsimiles of the original leather binding, this Haggadah is sure to becoming a treasured family heirloom.

The Passover Haggadah

Including Commentary from the Classic Commentators, Midrash, Kabbalah, the Chasidic Masters and the Haggadah of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Publisher: Kehot Publication Society Format: 7” x 10”, 224pp Fine Leatherette cover, Silver edged Language: English With elegant and functional design, this Haggadah is an excellent companion to the Seder. Clever icons draw the reader’s eye to the different genres of commentary: Midrashic, Kabbalistic, Chasidic and Classic; while a lucid english commentary also provides stepby-step instructions to the various customs of

the Seder. The work, by Rabbi Yosef Marcus, the Chabad emissary to San Mateo, California gives the reader a comprehensive and fundamental understanding of the Seder and the festival of Passover. This edition of Haggadah has already gained praise in the public eye. Acclaimed author Herman Wouk has called it “deep, complete, and lively with Hasidic lore; a fine volume.” It is “as beautiful in its contents as it is in its appearance,” noted Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy and A Code of Jewish ethics.

The Haggadah

A collection of reasons, customs and explanations Publisher: Kehot Publication Society Format: 6” x 9” Hardcover, 2 vols. 1112pp Language: Hebrew This is the definitive edition of the Haggadah. This two-volume set features the Rebbe’s classic commentary on the Haggadah, culled from the Talmud, Midrash, Halachah, Kabbalah and Chassidic works as well as the Rebbe’s own insights and analytic comments. Rich with appendices and addenda, this edition boasts a comprehensive collection of the Rebbe’s published works on the Haggadah. A clear and easy to read text-only edition of the Haggadah with a color, splash proof cover. Conveniently sized to take up minimum room on the crowded seder table, it is inexpensive enough to purchase a few extra for unexpected guests. Also avilable in compact, medium and Hebrew only versions.

The Illustrated Haggadah

Publisher: Kehot Publication Society Format: 8x10 Hardcover, 84pp Language: Hebrew / English A beautiful, Hebrew Haggadah with more than 50 illustrations by renowned Chasidic artist Zalman Kleiman. The pictures are inspired by Judaism’s rich oral tradition and Midrashic stories associated with the exodus from egypt as well as the text of the Haggadah itself. The questions and discussions they provoke will capture the interest of both children and adults.


On Winning a Gold Medal By Rabbi Zalman A. Kantor


he 11th of Nissan (April 11th this year) marks the 112th birthday of the Rebbe, the legendary leader of the modern Jewish era, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. In January of 1994, Congress passed a resolution awarding him, posthumously, with a congressional gold medal, “for his outstanding and enduring contributions toward world education, morality, and acts of charity.” He founded the Chabad network of over 3,000 religious, educational and community centers in countries around the world. But his influence went far beyond centers: He tirelessly dispensed kindness, encouraged leadership, and campaigned for universal awareness of G-d and ethics. His humble care for humanity and keen insight brought to his door senators and strategists, professors and professionals, rabbis, journalists, and world leaders alongside multitudes of children, students, and regular people. Including me.

A memory: The line stretched across a full city block and wound around the next street. Thousands of people from around the world had come this morning to 770 Eastern Parkway to get a personal New Year’s blessing. I, too, stood on line, my nose in a book of Psalms from which I prayed softly, oblivious to the honking cars, screeching tires, and sirens so endemic to this busy thoroughfare just down the road from Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Museum. The year was 1989 and I was 16. I had worked 10-12 hours a week in

order to be able to afford the ticket from my home in Australia to spend the High-Holiday month here with the Rebbe. Today I stood on line for the first time, preparing, anticipating. The line moved forward, through the doorway, up the stairs, into the corridor and I was there. I don’t know who else came that day – the visitor list probably included dignitaries such as the mayor, an ambassador, a famous religious leader or two. But I came. And, in that chunk of frozen time that has remained unthawed in my memory to this day, for the few moments that I stood before him – seconds, really, because of the ever-growing line – I was the dignitary. The Rebbe treated me as he did every person who visited: as an honorable guest, a special gift to mankind deserving of his complete attention, care, and wonder. But being a dignitary came with a cost. His eyes, gentle but ever so alive and alert, radiated an urgency, a subtle demand, a jolt out of complacency. “You are so capable. A piece of the Divine. What are you doing to make your world a better place? How far have you pushed yourself beyond your comfort zone?” I have many memories and mementos of that month. But one thing in particular lives on: the implicit belief that I have what it takes, and the subtle request that, for my own sake as much as the world’s, I never become satisfied until the job is done. Let’s leave the posthumous awards for Congress. The gold medal that is you is ready to shine today.

Note: A birthday is a day to celebrate with friends and give thanks to G-d for all His kindness. At the same time, it is a day to reflect on one’s spiritual state, to resolve to do better in the coming year, and to become closer to G-d by fulfilling His purpose here on earth. The spiritual element of the birthday continues even “after 120.” The Rebbe would typically shun birthday gifts—the material kind, that is. He did like spiritual ones, though, and took great satisfaction from hearing about people’s growth in their Judaism and relationship with G-d. Those gifts we can still give. Any mitzvah works, like committing to light Shabbat candles on time, adopting a new tefillin-laying habit, increasing Torah study or ahavat yisrael, love of fellow man. Particularly dear to the Rebbe was the concept of education. Not just of Jewish children but of all citizens of the world. And not just education that focuses on acquisition of knowledge, but education that focuses on building character and instilling moral and ethical values based on an awareness of G-d. A most apropos gift was “Education Day USA,” a joint resolution by the Senate and the House, proclaiming the Rebbe’s birthday as a day dedicated to educational awareness. This was signed into law for the first time in 1978 by then-president Jimmy Carter, and repeated by every US president since then. What will your gift be this year?


Book Excerpt

Meet the Young Women who Ruined Pharaoh’s Plot The Heroic Story of How the Jews Survived

under the Harsh Conditions of egypt By Rabbi Yosef Marcus


haraoh commanded the taskmasters to pressure the Israelites to complete their daily quota and to ensure that they did not go home to sleep at night. He intended to thereby minimize their procreation, assuming they would not procreate if they did not sleep at home. So the taskmasters said to the Israelites: “If you go home to sleep – by the time we call for you in the morning you will have lost one or two hours of the day and will not be able to finish your quota.” Subsequently, the Israelites began sleeping on the floor near their worksites. Said G-d to the Egyptian taskmasters: “I told Abraham their father that I would cause his offspring to proliferate like the stars…and you are plotting to prevent their proliferation?! Let us see whose word will endure – Mine or yours.” Immediately – “the more they afflicted them the more they proliferated…” (Shemot Rabbah 1:12).

Fish and Wine

Pharaoh did not take into account the dedication of the Israelite women. What did the daughters of Israel do? They would go down to the river to draw water. G-d would ensure that small fish [which aid in procreation – Etz Yosef] would providentially enter their pitchers. They would cook some of the fish, sell a portion of it for wine, then go out to the work fields to feed their husbands. After their husbands had partaken of the food and drink, the women would take out

The Righteous Women

their copper mirrors and have their husbands look at their reflections together with them. The wives thus brought their husbands to admire their beauty and aroused their marital passion, from which, with G-d’s blessing, they would conceive. In this way, the people continued to miraculously proliferate. When the time came to build the Tabernacle, the women donated these mirrors and brought them to Moses who initially rejected them. G-d told Moses: “Are you mocking these mirrors? These mirrors produced all these multitudes of Israel in Egypt! Use them to make the copper lever from which the priests will consecrate themselves…” (Tanchuma, Pekudei 9).

Rabbi Akiva taught: It was in the merit of the righteous women of that generation that Israel was redeemed from Egypt (Shemot Rabbah 1:12). Just as the Jewish women played the primary role during the pivotal moments of our history – Pesach, Purim, and Chanukah – they likewise play the primary role in the miracle of Jewish continuity. It is the mother of the home who ensures the spiritual fitness of the home and imbues its inhabitants with an appreciation for the sanctity of Torah and mitzvot. The same is true of education in the broader sense – teaching Judaism to all Jews – women, because of their innate qualities of empathy and connection, have the capacity to educate and influence others in ways that men cannot. And it is ultimately the women who will be the catalysts for the ultimate miracle, the transformation of our world into one of goodness and kindness, which, in the words of the Midrash, will occur “in the merit of the righteous women of Israel” (The Rebbe).

Book excerpt from The Passover Haggadah With Commentary from the Classic Commentators, Midrash, Kabbalah, the Chasidic Masters and the Haggadah of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Sold at SPRING ISSue 5774

YouR PERSoNal ExoDuS:

On Humility, Freedom and Tradition By Rabbi Zalman A. Kantor

PaSSoVER: WhaT’S IT aBouT? As chirping frogs herald the advent of spring and newspapers tell of swarms of locusts descending upon the Middle East , you know that Passover is in the offing. Passover is the biblical holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from Ancient Egypt and their miraculous deliverance from slavery under the Pharaoh and his bloodthirsty cohorts in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE). This year Passover arrives on Monday evening, April 14. Observances include a variety of elements: There’s the traditional sed-

er that includes matzah, bitter herbs, four cups of wine, reliving the story through the reading of the Haggadah-liturgy, a festive meal, the asking of the four questions, and so much more. Many a pleasant childhood memory has been created from this warm, spiritual, family-oriented tradition. Preceding the holiday comes a springcleaning of sorts to remove from our homes even the slightest speck of chametz (leavened-grain from wheat and barley and the like, such as that found in bread, pasta, pretzels, or things like beer or vodka etc.).

And for eight and a half days, beginning mid-morning on Monday until nightfall on Tuesday April 22nd, we avoid chametz and its derivatives like the plague. For an amazing online Passover resource, with sections for all ages, go to   maTzah mESSaGES Although Passover is strictly a Jewish holiday, it carries some timeless and universal messages. Take matzah, for example. It commemorates the haste in which the Jewish people left Egypt – they had to bake quick provisions but there was

Cover art by Yitzchok Moully about the artist: The artist, Rabbi Yitzchok Moully, was raised by former hippies and was exposed to far more color than one would expect in the rigorously orthodox Chassidic community. Moully’s formal education in day schools in Australia and later at the Rabbinical College of America, did not include formal art classes but his inner passion yearned for expression. After dabbling in various forms of art, Moully, found an expression for his creativity in the silkscreen process, and continues to explore various mediums and styles to express his vision. Moully’s art contrasts strong Judaic and Chassidic images with vibrant bold colors to create a startling combination which he describes as “Chassidic Pop Art.” In 2012 Moully established a non-profit called ‘The Creative Soul’ dedicated to exploring and celebrating Judaism through the arts, which hosts art shows and events throughout the uS. Moully is the Youth Rabbi at the Chabad Jewish Center in Basking Ridge NJ, where he resides together with his wife Batsheva and five children. Rabbi by day and an artist by night. Moully’s work can be seen on his website and he is available for lectures, workshops and art exhibits.


no time for the dough to rise – and the extraordinary faith they displayed by following the G-d-sent Moses into the desert, all without a survival plan. Matzah-flat, crunchy, and unleavened - also represents humility and selflessness. It takes humility to believe, it takes humility to learn, it takes humility to think of others, and it takes humility to truly grow. Humility allows us to recognize when we louse up, and encourages us to improve rather than remain stuck in the dark, unready to admit fault or failure.   In other words, matzah provides an escape hatch. Fascinatingly, this is signified by one minor detail in the one Hebrew letter that differentiates the word from its undesired leavened counterpart. The hey in matzah, unlike the chet in chametz, leaves a small opening between the leg and the roof of the doorway-shaped letter that both words share. SElF-ESTEEm Chametz is typically dough that has been allowed to rise and grow puffy – representing selfishness, arrogance and bloated selfawareness. These natural human vices have existed since time immemorial, but perhaps a refresher can be useful in our modern era, where the lines between self-esteem and selfabsorbedness have often blurred. With its eight-day focus on humility, Passover helps provide clarity and demarcation. Selfesteem is laudable when it contributes to a healthy foundation. This includes treating oneself with self-respect; not having unwarranted insecurity or an inferiority complex; having the confidence and courage to try new things and stand up for what’s right; and to recognize one’s infinite value as a human-being created by G-d.

Because having a higher purpose to life; an objective guide to what is good, moral, and compassionate; and the humility and discipline and passion to do the best with the blessings we have been endowed, is the most freeing thing on earth.

When it develops an appetite for vanity and personal gain, the self-esteem “miracle-staff ” begins to turn serpentile. A balanced self-esteem hails from selflessness and humility – which should not be confused with timidity or weakness. It takes profound humility to serve, and significant selflessness to recognize that you are here for a purpose other than self-perpetuation: namely, to make the world a kinder, better, more moral and divine place.   Moses was called “the most humble of people upon the face of the earth,” yet he stood up fearlessly to the Pharaoh, spoke and even argued with G-d, and led his people with love, compassion, and – when necessary – a firm hand. He was not self-indulgent but self-abnegating; he was not self-centered, but self-effacing; and he was also not self-conscious, but self-assured. Perhaps this is what allowed him the true freedom to soar. FREEDom Much more can be said on the topic of humility, and about freedom, too (Passover being called the Holiday of our Freedom). It boils down to this: the price for freedom is the readiness to sacrifice certain conveniences for the sake of something larger and better. A caring and responsible parent knows that raising a child with completely unfettered boundaries will more likely produce a wild beast than a kind, productive, upstanding person. A budding pianist knows that slavelike attention to repetition, technique, and practice is what produces the most freeing thrill of beautiful music. The examples abound, but the central point is that doing what you want, whenever you want, and however you want, does not necessarily equal true liberty – ask anyone recovering from the pestilence of addiction. “Let my people go,” the call that has spawned many a freedom movement, is only the first half of the phrase. The pivotal ending to that phrase is, “so that they may serve Me.”

TImING Passover “service” goes beyond matzahballs and brisket. Like our pianist, there is a songbook with notes to follow, the Haggadah, with guidelines on how to achieve the best results. There is the concert date and start time, when the spiritual divine Passover energy reigns. Tevye chalked it up to tradition, and traditions certainly die hard. But the details do have rhyme and reason too. If you are making a seder this year let me suggest that you try and incorporate at least one key upgrade, particularly regarding timing. If you typically start your seder before dark, at least try and keep some of the crucial components going until after dark, when the gates of Heaven are open. If you were planning the main family seder get-together for another night, at least eat some matzah on Monday (and Tuesday) night. Same if you weren’t planning a seder at all. Trust me, you won’t regret it. Because having a higher purpose to life; an objective guide to what is good, moral, and compassionate; and the humility and discipline and passion to do the best with the blessings we have been endowed, is the most freeing thing on earth. *** Did you find hints to the famous ten plagues hidden throughout this article? If not, time for a re-read. Rabbi Zalman A. Kantor directs (together with his wife Rochel) the Chabad Jewish Center of Rancho S. Margarita, in California. He can be reached for comment at


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passoverguide Your Total Seder Know-How – Things to do before Passover

the candles are lit after nightfall from a preexisting flame. On the 2nd night of Passover we begin to count the Omer, which lasts for 49 days. What’s the Omer? In the Holy Temple the Omer was an offering of barley taken from the first grain of the new crop. We count seven weeks, from the bringing of the first Omer offering (Passover) until the day we received the Torah (the Festival of Shavuot). The 49 days between Passover and Shavuot represent the 49 steps of mystical self-purification and preparation our people went through between leaving egypt (Passover) and receiving the Torah (Shavuot).

Chametz All leavened foods that contain wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt` – are forbidden by Torah law on Passover. You’ll be surprised at where you can find Chametz. So, look out for possible leavened products and isolate them in a designated “Chametz Closet.” Rabbinic law allows one to sell the Chametz (see next step). Then clear the house of any possible remaining Chametz: empty clothes’ pockets, vacuum cleaner bags, even the pet food goes into the Closet. Since you’ll use a separate set of dishes for Passover, the Chametz dishes get locked up too. Now stock up on Kosher-for-Passover items; for good leads on Passover foods check out How To Sell Your Chametz? It is also forbidden to “own” Chametz during Passover, hence, the annual sale of Chametz (see enclosed form). Sound complicated? It is, so ask your Rabbi to make the arrangements. Or log on to to sell your Chometz online. 4/13 Search for the Chametz At nightfall begin the “formal search” of the house for Chametz. Traditionally, we use a candle to light the way, a spoon (as a shovel), feather (as a broom) and a paper bag to collect any Chametz found. After the search, place everything you found in a conspicuous place to be burned the following morning.

4/14 Preparing For Tonight When G-d slew the firstborn of egypt, he spared the firstborn sons of Israel. Out of gratitude all firstborn sons fast on this day. Prepare To Celebrate Checklist Matza, Wine, Haggadah, Bitter Herbs, Charoset, Hard Boiled egg, Roasted Chicken Bone, Salt water, and a festive meal menu. Talmudic Tip: To build an appetite for the Seder abstain from eating any Seder plate foods today, especially Matza. So if you’re a lover of bitter herbs and raw onions, stay out of the kitchen. burning of The Chametz In the morning burn all the Chametz found during the previous night’s formal search. Make it Legal After cleaning the house, and selling and burning the Chametz, the head of the household says the appropriate prayers (see Haggadah), verbally disowning any Chametz that might have been overlooked. 4/14 ready To Seder At sundown candles are lit. At nightfall the Seder begins. Be sure to eat Matza and drink the four cups of wine. 4/15 Seder round 2 Jews living outside of Israel hold a second seder. Since the festival is already in full swing,

Chol Hamoed “Four intermediate Days” In between the first two and last two days of Passover, are the 4 days of Chol Hamoed. Considered Passover without the prohibition of work. 4/20 The Seventh Day At sundown, light candles. It was a seven day journey from eygypt to the Sea of Reeds. On the 7th day of Passover we celebrate the Miracle of the Splitting of the Sea and our total liberation from egypt. In commemoration, we stay up all night studying Torah. 4/21 The Last day After nightfall, light candles from a pre-existing flame. This day, the final day of Passover, emphasizes an even higher level of freedom. It is dedicated to our imminent and Final Redemption. 4/22 The Final Hours The final hours of Passover are about freedom and redemption. And with each passing day these energies increase and intesify. So, it is befitting that on the last day we observe Yizkor memorial prayers during services. Chasidic Jews also have the custom of the Ba’al Shem Tov, to conclude Passover with a “Feast of Moshiach” – a festive meal complete with Matza and, yes, four cups of wine. It begins before sunset as the spiritual light of the future redemption shines brightest. Nightfall marks the official conclusion of Passover. Wait an hour to give the Rabbi enough time to buy back your Chametz and then, eat Chametz to your heart’s content. SPRING ISSue 5774

eating the matzah out of habit, or because we are ready to embrace its significance? Are we observing these rituals to assuage guilt, or to actualize the desire to live a more meaningful life? When we allow the events in the Maggid to touch us to the core, we reveal the candor that children hold dear. At the conclusion of Maggid, we savor the second glass.


A Chasidic Perspective On The Seder STEP 1: KaDESH (Sanctify) The seder begins with a blessing over the 1st cup of wine. This is when we declare that this is “The Season of Our Freedom.” To stress this point, we recline to the left when drinking, as only free people did in ancient times.

less drudgery without meaning, purpose or goal. Why, some 3,000 years later, do mindless routines and habits, or careers driven by the need for status, still dominate our lives so often?

STEP 2: UrCHaTz (Wash) Wash the hands (in the ritual manner but without reciting a blessing). We will be touching a wet vegetable in the next step and rabbinic law requires washing of the hands. The Kabbalah teaches that hands represent expressions and attributes, while water epitomizes intellect and purity. Washing refines our attributes with intellect, enabling restrictions to turn into benevolence, hate into love, and personal slavery into freedom. The observance, one of many during the Seder intended to pique the interest of children, awakens the innocence within each of us.

STEP 4: YaCHaTz (Breaking) The middle matza (of the 3) is broken in two pieces. The larger piece, designated as the Afikoman, is wrapped and hidden away for the children to discover. The smaller broken piece, the “bread of poverty,” takes center stage while retelling the story of the exodus. It personifies the spiritual and material destitution our people endured in egypt once they no longer grasped the meaning of true freedom. By relating to their plight, we feel what is broken in our own humanity. At the same time, when the children hide the Afikoman we sense the larger dimension of our being, the part of our soul never touched by slavery that waits to be discovered.

STEP 3: KarPaS (Vegetables) Recite the appropriate blessing for vegetables, then dip the Karpas vegetable in saltwater before eating it. In the saltwater, we can taste the tears of anguish and despair our ancestors shed as their spirits were crushed in egypt. When rearranged, the letters of Karpas alludes to the word Perech, or “crushing labor.” Our people were forced to perform senseless tasks in egypt, end-

STEP 5: MaggiD (Telling) “Tell your children G-d took you out of egypt.” Fill the second cup of wine, then retell the story of our rise from the depths of bondage to the heights of redemption. Maggid begins with the children asking, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” The question can put us in touch with the innocence of children as we contemplate the dynamics of liberation. Are we


STEP 6: raCHTzaH (Washing) Wash the hands and recite the blessing, Al Netilat Yadayim (on the lifting of the hands). We prepare to internalize the humble nature of matza by uplifting our extremities and expressions. In its literal sense, the word netila means to move something from one place to another. With this blessing, we remove the physicality and vulgarity that may dwell in and around the hands, raising them up for what is to follow. STEP 7: MoTzi (Blessing over Bread) Hold the broken half-matza and two whole ones while reciting the appropriate blessing for bread, Hamotzie Leh-Chem Min Ha-Aretz. // The word lechem (bread) contains the same letters as lochem (war). Food is raw energy that holds the potential for either good or evil. Thus, a spiritual battle ensues every time it is consumed. If the purpose in eating is solely to gratify physical cravings, evil prevails. However, when eating to gain energy with which to better serve G-d, good prevails. STEP 8: MaTza (Blessing the matza) Return the bottom matza to the Seder plate. Holding the remaining one and one-half matzot,

recite the blessing for eating matza, Al Ah-Chilat Matza. // Our ancestors fled egypt with inconceivable haste, leaving no time for the dough that would nourish them to rise. Once free, their first taste was the “bread of poverty,” matza. From a mystical viewpoint, matza exemplifies a selfless ego. It was with this trait, rather than arrogance, that they accepted G-d-given freedom. Humility allowed them to appreciate the gifts of life. After the blessing, recline to the left and eat at least one ounce of matza. STEP 9: Maror (Bitter Herbs) Take at least 3/4 ounce of bitter herbs and dip it in the charoset, shake off the excess, and recite the blessing Al Ah-Chilat Maror before eating. Having meditated on the bitterness of exile during Maggid, we now physically experience its force. The impact further clarifies the significance of our exile. Before we can experience true freedom we have to internalize the might of our hardship – and accept that when we make the right choices, hardship exists only to make us stronger. STEP 10: KorECH (Sandwich) Break off two pieces of the bottom matza (at least one ounce). Take 3/4 ounce of maror, dip it in charoset and shake off the excess. Place the maror between the two pieces of matza and say, “Thus did Hillel do in the time of the Holy Temple…” Recline while eating. Maror alludes to the wicked, while matza refers to the righteous. Hillel, the great Jewish sage known for his compassion, instructed the righteous to reach out and draw the wicked closer. Likewise, now that

we have felt what it means to break free of slavery on a personal level, it is our obligation to share the experience with others. STEP 11: SHULCHan orECH (Festive Meal) Traditionally, the meal begins by dipping the hard-boiled egg from the Seder plate in saltwater to symbolize our constant mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple, and to allude to G-d’s desire to redeem His people. “ess, mein khind!” Across the community and throughout the world, we are together at the Seder table. The wise, the wicked, the simple and the innocent, all equal in the eyes of each other and the eyes of G-d. And we remember the fifth son – he who has not yet experienced the freedom of Passover. We are united as one in the common goal of redemption. STEP 12: TzaFUn (Hidden) At the conclusion of the Passover meal, children return the Afikoman. eat at least one ounce of this matzah. Nothing else except the remaining two cups of wine is consumed thereafter. It was necessary to partake in every step, every ritual, every taste and every thought before the Afikoman is revealed; then, we can become one with its Divine potential. We eat it only when completely satiated because it fulfills a need higher than the hunger for freedom, and we eat nothing afterward so that its taste remains with us. In the Seder, as with everyday life, there are no shortcuts to the greater dimension. Yet we are always aware that it is present and yearns to reveal itself when we

seek with a pure heart. STEP 13: bEiraCH (Grace after Meal) Recite the blessing over the third cup of wine, then drink while reclining. In anticipation of our ultimate Redemption, we now fill a special goblet, the Cup of elijah. We then open the door to the house and, holding a lit candle, recite the passage inviting the Prophet elijah to appear. Imagine all of creation in a state of spiritual and material freedom. Think about a world free of pain and suffering, war and struggles. Imagine all of existence at this level. Imagine yourself, the light of a single candle, ushering in the era of our redemption. STEP 14: HaLLEl (Songs of Praise) We offer praise to G-d for his mercy and compassion in redeeming our people from egypt, and in anticipation of our own ultimate redemption. Why does G-d need us to praise Him? He doesn’t; we do. As the Kabbalah explains, when we praise His kindness we reveal His compassion. When praying for our needs, we evoke His desire to give. STEP 15: nirTzaH (Accepted) The Seder concludes with the wish, L’shana Haba-ah Bi-Yerushalayim. We hope for each other that which our forefathers prayed for while enslaved in egypt, “Next Year in Jerusalem!” Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi omitted the passage, “The order of Passover is concluded,” from his Haggadah because the Seder’s message remains timeless. every day, one leaves egypt by transcending his limitations, to reach higher levels of holiness.


How to Plate Your Seder Plate bEiTzaH Top Left: A hard-boiled egg to commemorate the chagiga-holiday sacrifice.  Prep: Boil one egg per Seder plate, and possibly more for use during the meal.  Use: The egg is dipped into saltwater and eaten right before the meal starts. KarPaS Bottom Left: Karpas vegetable for dipping. The traditional potato or onion is dipped into saltwater at step 3 in the seder to provoke questions. Prep: Peel an onion or boiled potato and place slice on seder plate. Also prepare a small bowl of saltwater.  Use: At Karpas the vegetable is dipped into saltwater, the Borei Peri Ha’adama blessing is recited, before it is eaten. SPRING ISSue 5774

Maror Top Center: Maror or bitter herbs to remind us of the slavery. Most use fresh grated horseradish on romaine lettuce. Prep: Buy fresh horseradish root and grate it.  Use: During the blessing over the bitter herbs hold the maror and then dip it lightly into the charoset before eating it. CHazErET Bottom Center: Maror or bitter herbs remind us of the slavery. Most use fresh grated horseradish on romaine lettuce.  Prep: Buy fresh horseradish root and grate it.  Use: During the Korech sandwich of matza and maror use these bitter herbs. Dip it lightly into the charoset before using it.

zroaH Top Right: Shank Bone to commemorate the Pesach sacrifice. Many use a roasted chicken neck. Prep: Roast the neck over an open flame. Afterwards, remove most of the meat to reveal the bone. Use: The shank bone is symbolic and not eaten. You can re-use it the following Seder night. CHaroSET Bottom Right: Charoset (the apple, nut, wine puree) to remind us of the mortar and brick made by our ancestors in Egypt.  Prep: Shell walnuts and peel apples and chop finely, mix well and add red wine for color.  Use: The Charoset is used as a symbolic dip. Before eating the Marror, dip it lightly into the Charoset.



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Jewish Federation


A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute


S IFT A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute

Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe


Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe

Paradigm Shift is an elevator ride to the heights of what is possible. Synchronize yourself with the mission for which you were placed on earth, and learn to recognize the inherent goodness and perfection in yourself, in others, and in every circumstance of your life. Distilled into six succinct lessons, this empowering course offers a revolutionary outlook on life, culled from the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson of blessed memory.

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This course is offered in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing.



S IFT A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute

Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe


Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe


ELIE WIESEL Nobel Prize laureate, noted author, professor, and political activist


nown to many simply as “the Rebbe,” Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson assumed leadership of the Chabad Lubavitch movement in 1950, when it consisted of a small group of European refugees struggling to rebuild their lives after the war. Over the next four decades, the Rebbe established a worldwide network of educational, social, and religious institutions. Under his leadership, from a band of survivors, Chabad grew into a global movement that moved out of the shadow of the Holocaust and embraced a new future and a new world. One of the foremost Jewish leaders of our time, the Rebbe embraced all Jews, regardless of their beliefs or affiliation, and touched the lives of countless individuals across the social spectrum. Despite his passing in 1994, his legacy continues to live on through his teachings and through the work of his emissaries whom he charged with bringing the light of Judaism to every corner of the globe. The Rohr JLI has undertaken the important task of bringing the Rebbe’s intellectual and spiritual legacy to the thousands of students who attend its courses worldwide. The release of the course, Paradigm Shift: Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing. In a series of carefully crafted and tactfully presented lessons, the Rebbe’s philosophy is deconstructed and explored from a sweeping range of views, and is then skillfully rebuilt to showcase the Rebbe’s insights into life and his profound messages that so resonate with mankind. The course addresses the following questions: What are the Rebbe’s central teachings and contributions to Judaism and society? What was his understanding of the human being and what were his aspirations for humanity? What accounts for the continued success of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement? And most importantly—how can we apply these insights toward living a more purposeful life?




Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute





e each have a “garden” in our lives, an area where our values are secure and our belief system is uncontested: our families, our friends and the things we cherish. In the spiritual sense, too, most people have an area in their lives they designate as sacred: the synagogue, moments of study, and special days on the calendar. In this conception, however, only a part of our lives is good and sacred. A wall of separation encircles our “garden,” and everything that lies beyond seems to be beyond salvation. The Rebbe, however, taught that there is no divide between G-d and the material world, between the Torah and reality, between goodness and each aspect of our lives. The entire universe and all that transpires are expressions of G-d’s “garden.” This lesson explores how the Rebbe pinpointed mundane, even negative phenomena of this world, and demonstrated that below their surface lies a wellspring of goodness, holiness, and heightened potential. When one adopts this outlook everything in life takes on a positive hue, and the individual is positioned to live a happier and more positive life.

any have written about the Rebbe’s unconditional love and acceptance of people, but at the same time, it is widely documented that the Rebbe made relentless demands for their betterment and growth. This lesson explores this unique combination. The Rebbe defined a person not by his manifest failures and weaknesses, but by the soul’s absolute perfection and unlimited potential. The challenge is to reveal this perfection; but even when this has yet to happen, the internal core of perfection in every human being is what defines us. This philosophy underlies the Rebbe’s teachings about how to view ourselves and how to relate to others. Many of the Rebbe’s ideas and projects are rooted in recognizing this perfect soul as the real person—most notably, his campaign to increase love amongst people, his philosophical understanding of repentance, and his insistence that doing even one mitzvah is not religious hypocrisy.

This course is offered in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing.



S IFT Paradigm


Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute

Transformational Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute





ne of the primary innovations of the Rebbe was hat is the secret of Chabad’s sustained expansion that of sending emissaries—young men and and4: success following the Rebbe’s passing? A LESSON 3: MINDING YOUR MISSION LESSON SYNCHING WITH THE DIVINE women whom he charged with teaching and inspiring possible answer to this revolves around a larger question others all primary corners of the globe. The Rebbe alsowas taught about thehat ideal relationship rebbe and Chasid. ne ofinthe innovations of the Rebbe is the secret ofbetween Chabad’s sustained expansion that each person is an emissary of G-d and possesses How did the Rebbe respond to claims that Chasidim are that of sending emissaries—young men and and success following the Rebbe’s passing? A a unique mission. The soul in each of us renders us weak if they are constantly consulting with their Rebbe? women whom he charged with teaching and inspiring possible answer to this revolves around a larger question immutably similar, but each of us has unique talents and This, in turn, hinges on a broader question: Who is the others in all corners of the globe. The Rebbe also taught about the ideal relationship between rebbe and Chasid. circumstances that make us different from our fellow. ideal religious person—one who is an unquestioning that each person is an emissary of G-d and possesses How did the Rebbe respond to claims that Chasidim are G-d did not create these distinctions for naught, but follower who submits completely to the will of a higher a unique mission. The soul in each of us renders us weak if they are constantly consulting with their Rebbe? so that each individual should realize his or her true power, or one who scrutinizes religious beliefs and tests immutably similar, but each us has unique talents and This,validity in turn, hinges on athem broader question: Who is the destiny. Every person has anofexclusive mission that he or their before using to cultivate a personal circumstances that make us different from our fellow. ideal religious person—one who is an unquestioning she has been uniquely empowered to fulfill. This is Transformational true relationship with G-d? This lesson questions our Life Teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe G-dnot did notofcreate these distinctions for naught, but follower submits completely to the will of a higher only the individual: men and women each have perception of religion what it means to be a servant A new six-session course from the Rohr Jewishwho Learning Institute and so that each individual should realize his or her true power, or one who scrutinizes religious beliefs and tests a unique mission, as do children, as do the elderly. It is of G-d. destiny. Every person an exclusive mission that he or their validity before using them to cultivate a personal our responsibility tohas identify these talents and utilize to theuniquely utmost. This reality underscored the is Rebbe’s shethem has been empowered to fulfill. This true relationship with G-d? This lesson questions our push diversitymen and individuality, even as the notstrong only of thefor individual: and women each have perception of religion and what it means to be a servant diversity is rooted underlying unity. a unique mission, asin doan children, as do the elderly. It is of G-d.





our responsibility to identify these talents and utilize them to the5:utmost. This reality underscored the Rebbe’s LESSON REDEFINING FAILURE strong push for diversity and individuality, even as the diversity rooted in of anthe underlying he is second half twentiethunity. century was marked




he Rebbe continuously emphasized the historic by a resurgence of Jews who re-embraced their and unique role of our generation, and taught us to Jewish heritage. This lesson explores how the Rebbe seize the moment to usher in an era of everlasting peace responded to this novel development in the orbit of and goodness. Pointing to the revolutionary changes Jewish life. He taught that failure is not an anomaly that have taken place in technology, in politics, and in in the design of creation, but the tool through which the human spirit, the Rebbe observed that the overall the highest form of success can be achieved. Armed goal of creation is finally within reach and that the world with the belief that no person ever falls outside of G-d’s is finally ready for redemption. This lesson addresses providence, the Rebbe encouraged us to never despair how we might take advantage of this unprecedented or consider ourselves failures. Although we may have time in history to energize ourselves for the sprint to the erred, it is all part of a process that leads to a much better finish line. place. We all make mistakes. Such is life. And the Rebbe This course in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing. explained that, in a certain sense,isitoffered was destined to be that way.


This course is offered in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Rebbe’s passing.


A Train Crash and a Missing Spouse a Day in the life of Two chabad Rabbis By Baila Olidort, editor of


unday morning, Rabbi Shemtov of Riverdale, NY was at the funeral of Rabbi Dr. Jack Sable, founding rabbi of The Riverdale Jewish Center, when his smartphone vibrated urgently. It was Houston calling. Rabbi Blecher, of Chabad of The Woodlands needed his colleague’s help. A woman from the Houston area was injured in the Metro-North train crash in the Bronx, a mile and a half from Chabad of Riverdale. Her husband was frantically trying to get in touch with her. Could he help locate her? Sunday was a particularly packed day on Shemtov’s calendar. The funeral, a bar mitzvah, and preparations for the grand event later that evening at the Bell Tower Monument in the Bronx would consume most of his day. Then he got this text about the woman in the train crash. And then a phone call from a community member whose mom had just died at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Would the rabbi please go there to do whatever rabbis do to ensure that the body is properly handled? Shemtov prayed silently for a miracle that would allow him to be there for both. A flurry of text messages and phone calls between the two Chabad rabbis ensued as they each did their own research to find the hospital that the woman from Houston was taken to. At home in Houston, Chase Patton was in distress. He got a call from his wife Sherrill at 6:29am central time Sunday morning. The Metro-North train she and her two friends were riding had crashed in the Bronx. Banged-up and bruised, she was alive. Then the phone line went dead. Chase, a postal worker, tried calling back but there was no answer. An hour later, she called again saying that she and her friends were being taken to separate hospitals. She hung up abruptly. Two hours later with no word from Sherrill and no way of reaching her, Chase began

to stress. “That’s when news reports started to come in about the dying victims,” said Chase in a phone interview with For Chase, “it was pure panic.” Four people were killed in that accident. Traveling with friends to New York for a 30th year high-school reunion, Sherrill was among 60 injured passengers. “I knew that she always underestimates her injuries,” Chase said in a phone interview with “After losing a child [their eldest son passed away 12 years ago] and not knowing what’s going on with my spouse, I felt the fear of losing her.” Chase called the police. He called two local television stations. He called his Chabad rabbi. Sunday would be a busy day for most Chabad rabbis. Rabbi Blecher got an early start preparing for event at Market Street in The Woodlands, a township 30 minutes north of Houston, when he got the call from Chase. Gravitating to the warmth he found with Rabbi Blecher, Chase recently began coming to Chabad. Now he was desperate to find his wife, and amid the panic “the thought of calling Rabbi Blecher popped into my head.” The rabbis worked their phones. Shemtov narrowed it down to two hospitals: Montefiore or Columbia Presbyterian. Blecher called them both and texted Shemtov with his findings. Blecher: 622 w 168th St adult emergency room Section D Shemtov: I will be there in 15 minutes Rabbi Shemtov felt a nod from G-d. Both exigencies were at Columbia Presbyterian.

What the police couldn’t do for me, and what the media couldn’t do for me, Chabad did for me.

Stopping first at the hospital mortuary, Shemtov made arrangements for shmira, the traditional vigil over the body, and for a Jewish burial. Then he made his way to the emergency room. He had no idea what Sherrill looked like. With all the patients behind curtains, the best he could do was call out her name. “I walked around calling ‘Sherrill’ until someone answered my call.” The face of a bruised, but very much alive Sherrill Patton lit up when she saw the rabbi. “Oh,” she said relieved to see the rabbi. “My Chabad rabbi, Mendel Blecher must have sent you.” She had no cell phone service, so she could not call her husband, she told Rabbi Shemtov. Shemtov tried a hospital landline but that didn’t work. Now his phone had no reception either. He suggested that Sherrill come out with him to the lobby, where perhaps he’ll get a signal so that her husband can hear her voice. The two walked together until the rabbi’s phone bars lit up. Rabbi Shemtov called Chase. “Your wife is fine. I am here with her.” Overcome with relief, Chase Patton choked up, speechless. Shemtov handed the phone to Sherrill. It took a few minutes for Chase to regain his composure, before husband and wife could speak. Before the day was over, Rabbi Shemtov would be greeting hundreds his event at the Bronx’s Bell Tower Monument. In Houston, Chase Patton was in his own celebratory mood. When he and his two children joined Rabbi Blecher and 300 others at the Chabad event on Market Street, local Channel 2 news pulled Chase aside for an interview. He spoke about his ordeal and his own miracle. “What the police couldn’t do for me, and what the media couldn’t do for me, Chabad did for me,” a very relieved, grateful man offered. SPRING ISSue 5774

Elijah’s Visit to the Doctor Dr. Yaakov Brawer is a professor of Anatomy and an acclaimed author. In honor of the holiday of Passover we bring you the following story of how elijah visited Dr. Brawer and his family multiple times. Intrigued? Well, here’s the story: By Dr. Yaakov Brawer


ears ago, I attended a farbrengen (Chassidic gathering) in Brooklyn and set eyes on the Rebbe for the first time. The year that followed was truly a year of miracles, not the least of which was a visit by Elijah the prophet. On the first night of Passover my family and I, suffused with the wonder of our newly discovered chassidism and aflame with inspiration, were seated around the seder table. I had never before experienced a seder with such spiritual delight and longing for redemption. At the conclusion of the meal, the cup of Elijah was filled and my six year old son, candle in hand, was sent to open the front door, an old fashioned, ponderous wooden structure that was secured with a heavy iron latch. The door could be seen clearly from where I sat. HowSPRING ISSue 5774

ever, before my son could take a step, the door unlatched and swung wide open. No one, or at least no one visible, was there. My son dropped the candle and ran to his mother. I hesitantly got up and went to the open doorway. The night was clear and there was not so much as a breeze. With us that Passover was my parents’ housekeeper, a simple, devout catholic woman. She had come to us a few days before and stayed on to help with the children. During the seder, she stayed in her room, which was at the top of the stairs on the second floor. When she came down the next morning, she told us that during the night, she had heard the front door open and that she was suddenly and inexplicably overcome by an intense, awesome feeling of fear. My second encounter with Elijah occurred on the following Passover. In the interim,

we had moved from Boston to Montreal. As Passover approached and we immersed ourselves in the seemingly endless scrubbing, kashering, buying, and cooking, the exertion was sweetened by anticipations of the seder. Moreover, in light of the experience of the past year, it was not unreasonable to hope that Elijah would visit us, once again, in person. The night of Passover arrived and the seder was conducted with joy and expectation. In due course, the cup of Elijah was filled and I sent my (now) seven year old and his four year old brother to open the front door. Our home in Montreal occupied the second story of a duplex, so that the front door was downstairs. I heard the children open the door, and then I heard screams of terror and the sound of their feet scrambling up the steps. They burst into the dining room, faces white

When the cup of Elijah is filled this Passover and the front door is opened, don’t concentrate on the doorway. If you peek into your heart, there’s a very good chance that you will behold the holy prophet smiling back at you. with fear, and they babbled and clung to me as if their very lives were threatened. Although their agitated jabbering was totally unintelligible, I wondered whether Elijah had not appeared this time in visible form. After all, it all made a great deal of sense. When Elijah had arrived last year, I was not yet worthy to behold his presence. Now, however, after a whole year of studying, perhaps I had reached the state of personal perfection necessary for a full revelation of Elijah. I disengaged myself from my hysterical offspring and went downstairs to greet the prophet. What I encountered, however, was something else. There, at the entrance, was not the angelic figure of Elijah, but two massive dogs sitting on the front porch. I now understood the children’s delirium. My kids would cross the street if they saw a miniature poodle leashed to its owner two blocks away. These dogs placidly sat on my porch contemplating me with mild curiosity. I could not imagine what they were doing there. I closed the door and dejectedly climbed the stairs. How was I to explain to my family that after six trips to the Rebbe, a year of learning tanya, and putting on rabbeinu tam’s tefillin in addition to the regular, requisite pair, I was worthy to be visited on Passover night by a couple of dogs? As it turned out, however, they weren’t ordinary dogs. On the following morning in shul, I was approached by one of the yeshivah administrators who asked if I could take a guest for the midday meal. One of the supporters of the yeshivah had a son who was studying law at an American school, and while there, he had become attracted to Torah learning and Jewish observance. He was now home, visiting his parents for Passover, and this administrator thought it would be a good idea if I spoke with him. I readily agreed. We were introduced, and following the morning prayers, my children, my guest and I set out for home. As we reached my house, my guest became excited and exclaimed “I don’t believe it! This can’t be real”. I asked

him what the excitement was about. My guest told me that he had come to Montreal the day before Passover. With him, were his two pet dogs. Just before the seder at his parents’ home, the dogs escaped and ran out into the street. By the time their absence was noticed, they were nowhere to be seen, and my guest took to the streets to search for them. Hours later, he found them, very far from home, in a strange neighborhood, sitting on someone’s front porch. That someone was me. Providence had guided those monsters, his “pets”, to my house. The experience left a deep impression on all of us and I felt particularly uplifted. If Elijah did not exactly come in person, at least he sent his dogs. My guest and I became friends and in time, he embraced Torah completely, married, and raised a wonderful chassidic family. The third

Every small, private, inner step on the path to spirituality and goodness is a step toward the redemption. The Torah- study, good deeds, and character refinement with which we occupy themselves all year open the door of the heart to Elijah the prophet and all that he represents. visit, which occurred the following year and has been repeated ever since, is somewhat less dramatic. Following grace after the meal, the cup of Elijah is filled, and my grandchildren go to the door, candles in hand. The door is opened, the appropriate verses are recited and that’s it. Although it would be improper and incorrect to refer to it as a “no show”, it is a very low key visit. In truth, intuition not withstanding, this third visit is the most momentous of all, but one must know how to appreciate it. Last year, while spending Passover with my eldest son (the six- and seven-year old in the above accounts) he related a story about the Rebbe of Kotsk that puts this third visit in proper focus. One year the Kotsker Rebbe promised his chassidim that Elijah the prophet would be revealed at his seder. On the first night of Passover, the Rebbe’s dining room was crammed with chassidim. The air was electric

Miracles provide inspiration and cause us to direct our attention and efforts to spiritual truths.

with anticipation and excitement. The seder progressed, the cup of Elijah was filled and the door opened. What happened next, left the chassidim speechless. Nothing. Nothing happened. There was no one there. The chassidim were crushed. After all, the Rebbe had promised them a revelation of Elijah. The kotsker, his face radiating holy joy, perceived their bitter disappointment and inquired as to what was the problem. They told him. “Fools!” he thundered. “Do you think that Elijah the prophet comes in through the door? Elijah comes in through the heart.” the true light of redemption comes from within. Miracles provide inspiration and cause us to direct our attention and efforts to spiritual truths. The ultimate miracle, however, is not the abrogation of nature, but the transformation of the natural into the G-dly. Although the redemption from Egypt came from “without” – it was orchestrated and produced entirely by the Al-mighty, Our sages tell us the future and ultimate redemption will be the product of our own effort. Indeed, the whole point of liberating us from Egypt was to provide us with the opportunity to refine ourselves and the world around us to the extent that divine will which is the hidden source and root of all of existence becomes openly manifest. This is what we achieve when we struggle to overcome the ego-centric inertia of worldly life. Every small, private, inner step on the path to spirituality and goodness is a step toward the redemption. The Torah study, good deeds, and character refinement with which we occupy themselves all year open the door of the heart to Elijah the prophet and all that he represents. When the cup of Elijah is filled this Passover and the front door is opened, don’t concentrate on the doorway. If you peek into your heart, there’s a very good chance that you will behold the holy prophet smiling back at you.

Dr. Yaakov Brawer is Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University Faculty of Medicine. He is the author of two books of Chassidic philosophy, Something From Nothing and Eyes That See. SPRING ISSue 5774

‫פסח תשע״ד‬

Passover 5774/2014 NISSAN 11


‫ו ניסן‬

6 Nissan


‫יג ניסן‬

13 Nissan


‫כ ניסן‬

20 Nissan Omer 5

Birthday of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson (1902). CELEBRATING PESACH (PASSOVER) Pesach is celebrated by refraining from eating or owning any chametz foods for the duration of the holiday, and by participating in a Seder dinner on the first two nights of the holiday.

4th Intermediate day


‫ז ניסן‬

7 Nissan

Search for Chometz 8:56pm

In the evening count Omer 6 Light candles at 8:12pm



‫יד ניסן‬

14 Nissan

‫כא ניסן‬

21 Nissan

REMOVAL OF CHAMETZ Chametz (leaven) is defined as wheat, barley, oats, rye or spelt which have been mixed with water and then had time to rise. During Pesach it is forbidden to eat, derive benefit or even own chametz, or any mixture containing chametz. We prepare for Pesach by thoroughly cleaning our home, workplace or other place we own, and removing any trace of chametz we may find. Sinks, tables, counter tops, and dishes not used exclusively for Pesach need to be koshered. All food products used on Pesach must be certified Kosher for Passover. On the evening before Pesach begins (this year on Sunday evening, April 13), we formally search the entire home for any remaining chametz. Any chametz we don’t plan on destroying is placed in a special room or closet, sealed, and sold - through a Rabbi - to a non-Jew for the duration of the festival. Unsold chametz must be destroyed the morning be- fore the Festival.

Omer 6 Eat chometz untill 11:12am Destroy chometz by 12:20pm

Fast of the Firstborn


‫ח ניסן‬

8 Nissan


Drink four cups of wine (or grape juice), reminding us of the redemption and its four stages.

Ask the Four Questions and recite the Haggadah, which tells the story of Passover and describes the miracles of our redemption.

Eat Matzah, the plain unleavened bread which symbolizes both the simple bread of slaves and the swiftness of the redemption from Egypt, which did not give our ancestors time to let their dough rise.

Eat Maror (bitter herbs), which reminds us of the bitterness of the enslavement.

THE LAST DAY OF PESACH The eighth and final day of Pesach is associated with Moshiach and our fervent hope for his imminent arrival. In many communities, a festive “Moshiach Meal” is organized toward the evening, to emphasize this day’s special dimension.

First Seder at 8:58pm

In the evening count Omer 7 Light candles after 9:10pm



‫טו ניסן‬

15 Nissan

‫כב ניסן‬

22 Nissan Omer 7

1st day of Passover In the evening count Omer 1 Light candles after 8:59pm


‫ט ניסן‬

9 Nissan

Moshiach Seuda Yizkor 8th day of Passover

Second Seder at 8:59pm

In the evening count Omer 8 Holiday ends at 9:15pm



‫טז ניסן‬

16 Nissan Omer 1

2nd day of Passover

THE SEDER The Pesach Seder, conducted each of the first two nights of Pesach, is the central event of the Passover festival.

7th day of Passover

Light candles at 8:03pm

In the evening count Omer 2 Holiday ends at 9:05pm


‫י ניסן‬

10 Nissan


‫יז ניסן‬

17 Nissan

Omer 8

Isru Chag

In the evening count Omer 9


Omer 2

1st Intermediate day


‫יא ניסן‬

11 Nissan

In the evening count Omer 3

In the evening count Omer 10



‫יח ניסן‬

18 Nissan

2nd Intermediate day


‫יב ניסן‬

12 Nissan

‫כד ניסן‬

24 Nissan Omer 9

Omer 3

Light candles at 7:58pm

‫כג ניסן‬

23 Nissan

‫כה ניסן‬

25 Nissan Omer 10

In the evening count Omer 4 Light candles at 8:09pm

In the evening count Omer 11 Light candles at 8:20pm



‫יט ניסן‬

19 Nissan Omer 4

ACHREI Shabbat HaGadol

‫כו ניסן‬

26 Nissan


Pirkei-Avot: Chapter 1 Blessing of the new month

3 Intermediate day rd

Shabbat ends at 8:59pm

In the evening count Omer 5 Shabbat ends at 9:11pm

In the evening count Omer 12 Shabbat ends at 9:23pm


ThE KING aND ThE JEWS The title-and the story itself for that matter, might lead you to think this is one of my stories of 18th-19th century Eastern Europe, or 16th-17th century Tsfat or Jerusalem for that matter. The reality is that this episode took place recently, in early 2014.


he first stages of winter in Morocco this year were unusually warm and dry, and as the days and weeks progressed, so did the worry that this could be a year of drought leading to serious famine, for the agriculture of Morocco (like many other countries in the Mideast) is dependent upon the winter rains. The King of Morocco, however, Muhammad the Sixth, knew well the address to turn to in the season of such troubles: the synagogues of the Jews. He sent an official royal request to the head of each Jewish community in Morocco, asking them to convene a special assembly in their synagogues for the express purpose of praying for rain. In response, the members of CCIM-”Council of Israelite Communities in Morocco”-hurried to compose a letter that was dispatched to all the Jews in the country. “In light of the request of his Royal Highness, the King, there should take place in every synagogue [at the same time] a special prayer assembly to plead with the Master of the Universe that He should provide plentiful rain throughout the kingdom.” It was decided that this prayer should take place in the synagogues on Shabbat, the tenth day of the Jewish month of Shvat in the year 5774 (Jan. 11, 2014), just before reading the weekly Torah portion called Beshalach. In

every synagogue in the land that Shabbat, the Jews gathered and prayed with mighty devotion that the Al-mighty should release the rain upon the land. The next day, Sunday, in the evening, their prayers were answered [in the affirmative]. Dense dark clouds slowly filled the sky, and soon thereafter heavy rains beat upon the earth everywhere within the borders of Morocco, and continued for several days without cease. The following week, important government officials in every city with a Jewish community met with the leader of the community in his city by order of the King to thank them in his name for their congregation’s prayers. * How did King Muhammad VI know to ask the Jews to help? Answer: He simply followed the family tradition. His father, Hussein II, often turned to the Jews for their prayers in times of need, and he enjoyed a warm relationship with a number of different Jewish community leaders. Although only a fraction of the Jewish population remained in Morocco after 1948 (about 3000 out of approximately 350,000) Hussein II believed that even this greatly reduced number was a source of blessing for the country. Indeed, on the eve of Yom Kippur each year, he would send personal representatives, wearing the fancy robes of

royal emissaries to their synagogues to request a blessing for the King. Yaakov (“Jackie”) Kadosh, head of the Jewish community of Marrakesh, testified to Sichat HaShavua, one of Israel’s most popular Shabbat weekly publications, that the current King also has this great appreciation for the Jews in his kingdom. “A few years ago we decided to repair and renovate our centuries-old Jewish cemetery from the damages of the passage of time. I and Rabbi Raphael Ben-Shimon wrote to the King with the details of our plan. In just a short time we received a response. He blessed our plan and even said that all the expenses for the work would be paid from the royal treasury. This was a sum equivalent to millions of dollars! He called it ‘a holy project.’” Source: Translated and freely adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from Sichat HaShavua #1412. * Editor’s note: I’ll answer some astute readers’ question in advance to save them the trouble of writing: Yes, I know that the day before that Shabbat, millions of Muslims prayed in their mosques for rain too, also at the behest of the King. Yerachmiel Tilles is co-founder and associate director of Ascent-of-Safed, and chief editor of He has hundreds of published stories to his credit, and many have been translated into other languages. SPRING ISSue 5774

A People is Born A Poem by Shira Gold Dedicated to young Jewish mothers everywhere

The Director says it’s a wrap. Staff writer Ben Sherman brings us:

The Tefillin Trailer From the creator of “Heaven and Earth” comes an epic story to stir the mind and move the heart. The following is a window into a fundamental mitzvah. By no means comprehensive, it may be seen as a movie trailer—in this case, to entice and inspire further understanding and growth.

Tefillin* THE HEART: wild, warm; impulsive, generous; populated by raw emotions and fierce desires. Drawn indiscriminately to anything that will sustain it. Dependable? THE MIND: calculated, cold; predictable, exacting; characterized by intense creativity, constant activity. Given to either devious scheming or constructive brainstorming. Principled? THE SOLUTION: hard wood-like boxes, soft leather ties; perfect squares, pliant loops. Small black containers loaded with scrolls of immense light – ancient content, of perpetual relevance, though constantly in fresh attire – and girded by straps, strips of once pungent hide, now refined and exuding a sweet, homey aroma. Bound to the arm, at heart level, firmly. Harnessing the cardiac energy; channeling the flow of passion; the inclinations; the ardor; to higher, to better, to nobler pursuits. Secured to the front of the head, a palpable weight, above the brain. A spiritual navigator, giving focus to all cerebral exercise, direction to all intellectual ingenuity, towards the good and the G-dly, the positive and the productive. Heart and mind combined, injected with soul: an indomitable moral force. When it comes to your spiritual mission in life, sometimes the first thing you need to do is roll up your sleeve. *Tefillin are worn daily (besides on Shabbat and holidays) by males over 13 years of age. For an episode near you, call Tefillinmaster or a chabad center near you. If you can’t get through, chances are they are tied up at the moment so call back shortly. Ben Sherman is a staff writer at Chabad Magazine.


An attempt to capture the mood and essence of this season – Passover to Shavuot, and its current relevance and imperative

Gasping for air In haste To escape The tentacles of temptation, Limitation, Slavery. The taste of Matzah Lingers Desert sand Grit Vision Counting down with bated breath To freedom, Revelation, Eternity. Before our eyes Earth ascends, Humbly, Firmly, Spreading smooth its jagged peaks To receive Inhale Exude The scent of Heaven. An Enticement, Demand, Urgent plea: “Sow thy seeds, Slumber not.” Before our eyes walls crumble, Dissolve; Breathing, Revealing, A shining new Reality.

Shira Gold is a poet and she knows it. In her non poetic moments, Shira worries about what to feed her family of five.

Marvid Poultry


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Tel: (204) 775-8721


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Fax: 334-3108


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Phone: 284-5950


60 Marion Street, Winnipeg, MB R2H 0T1

renovations full renovations kitchens, basements, bathrooms, and much more . . .

trust your senses ... and our quality

Arkady Faigelman ph. 204.770.7239 Email:

“Helping you see your Haggadah more clearly…” Howard Jesierski Phone: 474-7090 | Email:

Kelekis, Minuk , Micflikier & Green 441-A Henderson Highway | Winnipeg, MB R2K 2H5

Passover Assistance

 Divorce, Family &

Collaborative Family Law  Real Estate & Mortgages  Wills & Estates Gary Minuk: 204-987-1220

Ma’ot Chitim

“Let all who are hungry, come and eat.” (HaggadaH)

Help everyone enjoy Passover.

Daniel Minuk: 204-987-1227

Barrister and Attorney At Law

T: 204-477-7430 | F: 204-477-7450 |



Geotechnical Environmental C.S.A. Certified Assessments Investigations Materials Testing

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Mid-West Quilting Co. Ltd. PROTECTIVE TEXTILES INTERNATIONAL INC. 1451 Erin Street Winnipeg, MB R3E 2S9 Phone (204) 783-6009 Fax (204) 783-8887

Happy Passover The Rich Family



Saper Agencies Ltd. INSURANCE OF ALL KINDS 16—2188 McPhillips Street Winnipeg R2V 3C8

PH. 694-6787  *69-INSUR*  FAX 694-4153

“For all your Sales, Service, and Autobody Needs. New and Used. All Makes and Models.”

Cell: 204.955.9120

Fur & Leather Merchants

BWF Bill Worb Furs Inc.


Phone/Fax: 204.942.5715 305–414 Graham Avenue Winnipeg MB R3C 0L8

Bill & Paula Worb Wishing our family and friends a Happy and Kosher Passover!

312-314 Ross Avenue Winnipeg, MB R3A 0L4 Phone: (204) 942-6600

Fax: (204) 942-7171



Best wishes for a safe and healthy Passover, from my family to yours. As we celebrate the concept of freedom and diversity, may we embrace the promise of what the future holds.

Mayor Sam Katz

‫‪Rose‬‬ ‫‪SamNepon‬‬ ‫‪Gunn‬‬

‫‪Jerry‬‬ ‫‪Nepon‬‬ ‫‪Pearl Sholom‬‬ ‫‪Gunn‬‬

‫חייםשרגא‬ ‫אברהם‬ ‫דוד בן‬ ‫שמואל‬ ‫שמחהבת‬ ‫רחל‬ ‫נפטר ה' שבט‪ ,‬תשל"ח‬

‫שמעון‬ ‫פערל סמיא‬ ‫בתיעקב‬ ‫יצחק בן‬ ‫נפטרה כ"ב כסלו‪ ,‬תשנ"א‬

‫‪Rose Nepon‬‬ ‫רחל בת שמואל חיים‬ ‫‪Sam Gunn‬‬ ‫נפטרה י"ב אדר א'‪ ,‬תשנ"ח‬

‫‪Joe Lavitt‬‬ ‫יוסף יהודה בן צבי‬ ‫‪Butch‬‬ ‫‪Nepon‬‬ ‫נפטר כ"ח שבט‪ ,‬תש"ע‬

‫נפטרה ב‪-‬י”ב אדר ’א‬ ‫תשנ”ח‬ ‫❦‬

‫שמחה דוד‬ ‫בן אברהם❦שרגא‬ ‫שבט‬ ‫נפטר‬ ‫ב‪-‬ה‘‪Butch‬‬ ‫‪Nepon‬‬ ‫תשל”ח‬ ‫ישראל בן‬ ‫מרדכי דוב‬

‫יצחק‬ ‫נפטר י"ג תמוז‪ ,‬תשנ"ח‬


‫נפטר ב‪-‬י‘ כסלו‬ ‫תשנ”ח‬ ‫❦‬

‫בן יצחק‬ ‫מרדכי❦דוב ישראל‬ ‫‪Jerry‬תמוז‬ ‫‪Nepon‬ב‪-‬י”ג‬ ‫נפטר‬ ‫תשנ”ח‬ ‫יעקב‬ ‫יצחק בן‬

‫נפטר י' כסלו‪ ,‬תשנ"ח‬ ‫❦‬ ‫‪Pearl Gunn‬‬

‫‪David & Shaino Stitz‬‬

‫‪Anne‬‬ ‫‪Gunn‬‬ ‫בת שמעון‬ ‫סמיא‬ ‫פעדל‬ ‫דוד‬ ‫נפטרהבת‬ ‫חנה ביילא‬ ‫שמחהכסלו‬ ‫ב‪-‬כ”ב‬ ‫נפטרה כ"ג שבט‪ ,‬תשע"ג‬ ‫תשנ”א‬



‫‪Yosef‬‬ ‫‪Altein‬‬ ‫‪PhilYitzchak‬‬ ‫‪Kravetzky‬‬ ‫יוסף יצחק בן הרב מרדכי דוב‬ ‫שרגא פייווש מרדכי‬ ‫נפטר כ"ג ניסן‪ ,‬תש"ס‬

‫‪Phil Kravetzky‬‬ ‫‪David‬‬ ‫‪Yakov‬‬ ‫שרגא פייוויש בן בצלאל ליב‬ ‫דוד יעקב‬ ‫נפטר ל' ניסן‪ ,‬תש"ע‬ ‫בן ברוך מרדכי‬ ‫נפטר ❦ב‪-‬כ”ה ניסן‬ ‫תשנ”ב‬

‫יוסף יהודה בן צבי‬ ‫נפטר ב‪-‬כ”ח שבט‬ ‫תש”ע‬

‫דוד יעקב בן ברוך מרדכי‬ ‫נפטר כ"ה ניסן‪ ,‬תשנ"ב‬ ‫שיינדעל בת בצלאל צבי‬ ‫נפטרה כ"ב ניסן‪ ,‬תשע"ב‬

‫בן בצלאל ליב‬ ‫נפטר ❦‬ ‫ב‪-‬ל‘ ניסן‬ ‫תש”ע‬



SEDER Relive the exodus, discover the eternal meaning of the Haggadah, and enjoy a community Seder complete with hand-baked matzah, wine, and a wonderful dinner spiced with unique traditional customs.

Monday, April 14 8:00 PM

Jewish Learning Centre

Our Seder is English and Hebrew friendly, and everyone will feel welcome. Enjoy the Holiday of Freedom with a Seder experience you will remember for a lifetime! Open to Everyone • Family Seating • Children’s Program Courvet: $18 per adult | $12 per child (ages 6-12) | Children 0-6 FREE! No one will be turned away due to lack of funds.

To RSVP and for more information, please visit or call 204-339-8737

Pesach Magazine 5774  

The Pesach Magazine features fresh content in a modern and professional design, including: fascinating articles and insight from world-renow...