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WordsEtz Chaim from


Happy Passover 2018

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Words The Rabbi From

Why do we conduct two Seders in America and only one Seder in Israel? The reason that we repeat the Seder, the festive ritual dinner observed on the first night of Passover, is because both the first and second days of Passover are observed as a full holiday in the Diaspora, equal to the first day of Passover that is observed in Israel. Why? The short history is that the Jewish holidays follow the lunar calendar. Every Jewish month begins with the earliest visibility of the moon at the start of its 29.5-day cycle. In the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the new month was to be declared by the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court in Israel, based on if and when witnesses testified to having seen the crescent moon. If the new crescent moon was seen (by two witnesses) on the 30th night of a month’s cycle, then upon accepting their testimony the Sanhedrin would declare that day (the 30th) as the first of the new month. If there were no sightings of the new moon on the 30th night of a month’s cycle, the 30th day would be treated as the last day of the month, and the first of the new month would begin the following night (day 31 of the last cycle). Jews living far from the land of Israel would not be aware which day had been declared the first of the new month in time to know which day would the 15th — when the holidays of Passover and Sukkot begin. In order not to miss the correct day, the distant exiles observed the holiday on the two days that could possibly be the 15th of the month. In the 4th century CE, the sage Hillel foresaw the disbandment of the Supreme Court and understood that we would no longer be able to follow the sighting-based calendar. Hillel and his rabbinical court established the perpetual calendar that is still followed today. The Talmud relates that once the calendar had been set, the Jews of the Diaspora turned to the

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sages of the time and asked if they should return to observing only one day: “But now that we are well acquainted with the fixing of the new moon, why do we observe two days?” they asked. To which the Supreme Court in Israel responded: “Give heed to the customs of your ancestors which have come down to you; for it might happen that the government might issue a decree and it will cause confusion [in ritual].” Due to the persecution they foresaw, the Sages were concerned that at some point in history there would be confusion regarding how the calendar works as established by the Sages and therefore they instructed that we continue this observance. Nevertheless, making the second Seder meaningful and significant for participants can definitely be challenging, despite the importance of observing both days. Here are some suggestions I found that we will use at our annual 2nd night Seder: 1) Make sure to have Haggadah readers for all the participants to read and follow. You might also want to buy a variety of different editions of the Haggadah, or ones with varying commentary, the participants can trade from one night to the next. 2) Give people turns to read the text, and switch the paragraphs assigned on each night. 3) Print out short insights for the participants to read and share. Prepare some for the first night and others for the second 4) Most importantly, find someone who does not yet have plans for a family Seder, like someone new to town or someone whose family lives too far, and invite them to join you! A new face will definitely make things more interesting and help fulfill a central theme of the Seder, “Let all who are hungry come and eat!” That’s where YOU come in! Please feel free to share this article and, above all, invite anyone who doesn’t have a place to go for the second Seder to come join us at Etz Chaim! Best wishes for a kosher and happy Passover!

—Rabbi Gary Berenson

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Try Etz Chaim On Saturday Morning

Summer Reception Honours Sculptor

We rush around all week long, so isn’t it time for a little break? Consider joining us Saturday morning for services, followed by the best oneg in Portland. It all gets underway at 9.30 a.m., and we generally wrap up by 11.30, in time to enjoy some great friendship and food. Everyone’s invited, we have no dress code, plus it’s a great way to learn Torah, discuss Jewish topics with friends and to get a break from the work-a-day world. See you Saturday! WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 3

Regular Services At Etz Chaim Everyone is welcome to join us for regular services held at Etz Chaim all year round: — Shabbat Morning — Saturdays at 9.30. Followed by Portland’s best Oneg. — Evening Minyan every Monday at 5. — Our Family Kabbalat Shabbat Service is on the 2nd Friday of Each Month at 7 p.m., featuring a guest speaker. Our April service will be on Friday the 13th and joining us will be Philip Chamberlain, owner of Alliance Physical Therapy, who will offer some “get set for Spring outdoors pointers” and some tips on how to keep out of his PT clinic! Join us for services & our oneg after!

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Words Contributing about

Remember that a donation to Etz Chaim in honour of a mitzvah, in memory of a loved one or for any other purpose both helps your shul, and is a great way to add recognition to an event. To donate, please contact Rabbi Gary Berenson at the address, e-mail or phone below. And thanks to those who have given their generous support!

Do You Work For A Company Which Offers Matching Gifts? Many Businesses In The Portland Area Will Match Gifts Given To Non-Profit Organizations, Some Dollar-For-Dollar And Others More. Etz Chaim Synagogue 267 Congress St., Portland, Maine 04101 Phone (207) 773-2339 info@etzchaim-portland.org Bulletin Edited By: Ted Fleischaker & Ivan Howard

Before You Donate To Etz Chaim, Check With Your Company’s HR Department And Ask If They Will Match To Make Your Donations Go Even Further!

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Words The Kitchen From

Grandma Gertrude’s Matzo Glaze You will need: 4-6 Sheets of Matzo (Plain works best) Matzo Meal (for coating)

Passover is likely the hardest holiday to write a kitchen column for, because every family has their own special dishes... whether they are Grandma Gertrude’s matzo balls; Aunt Lucille’s egg cream and sponge cake or mom’s gefilte fish. And nothing I can say or write about my faves will change what appears on your Passover menu... nothing. That’s called tradition.

2-3 Whole Eggs

Unlike most days or nights (Why IS this night different than all other nights?) I can only offer a few recipes and hope, whatever you make, that it’s a good Seder and Passover at your home --- or wherever you are headed from the 30th of March into the first week of April.

How to do it:

That does give me one other place for a comment though: Everyone marks this eight-day holiday with different degrees of strictness, just as they do all year long, but more-so.

2-3 Medium Onions (finely chopped) 1/2 Stick Celery (optional) Salt & Pepper to taste 1 Stick Butter, Plus Oil for Frying

In a pan or heavy skillet, place the oil (I use olive, but any vegetable oil works) and one finely chopped onion, plus the celery (also finely diced) if you choose to use it. Cook until transparent or barely brown. Meanwhile, Break matzo and soak in water until they become limp. (I use a colander for this step) then squeeze out the excess moisture.

Many friends I join for meals out in foodie Portland the rest of the year do not do restaurants at all this week. Others, who love their lobster roll or shrimp the rest of the year keep strictly Kosher during Passover and even change their dishes at home. They’d not dream of tasting any of that treif they eat the other 51 weeks of the year. So what I am trying to say is to whatever degree you celebrate or mark Passover, it stands out as “the” home culinary holiday of the year. We hope it’s a good one and one you will enjoy --- both religiously and culinarily. Apologies, too, to those who saw some of these recipes last year or the year before, but as several asked for a repeat, and they are front-and centre at our Seder, I hope you enjoy. I also include one for a great matzo kugel we got in 2016 from Allison Brown. Happy Passover! Page 6

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When the onions are just browning, add the soaked matzos to the pan and stir well to combine, adding salt & pepper to taste, then cover and allow to steam. Do be sure to stir often to avoid sticking. You may need to add a bit more oil to prevent sticking as well. Once well steamed and blended, remove from fire and allow to cool to room temperature. Once cool enough that the eggs do not “cook”, add beaten eggs and adjust salt & pepper, adding a bit more as needed. Allow to cool completely, until mixture can be handled then, as seen in the photo on the previous page of Ivan, form into five balls, each about the size of a tennis ball. Coat the outside of each with matzo meal and refrigerate (preferably overnight). When ready to serve, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to the boil, gently add the balls and simmer until they float to the surface (15-20 minutes). Do not boil too briskly or the balls will break apart! At the same time, combine the remaining onion (finely chopped) and a stick of butter in a skillet and brown the onion lightly over medium heat. And finally, just before serving, drain the balls, place in a bowl and pour the browned onions and butter over the top.

3 eggs 3 apples cut up (small pieces) 4 ½ peaches (canned with juice) cut up ¼ c raisins

Note you can double or even triple the recipe for large Seders, leftovers or serving later...and they do freeze well!

½ c sugar

Also, do not tell your doctor I passed this recipe on, as it’s neither low-cal or low-cholesterol, but it can’t be all that bad as Grandma Gertrude lived to age 93.

½ c margarine melted

1 tsp almond extract

How to do it: Soak matzos and drain

Allison Brown’s Matzo Kugel

Add remaining ingredients

You Will Need:

Pour into greased 9” x 13” Pyrex dish

6 Matzos

Bake at 350 for one hour WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 7

Words Our President From

Jewish rituals are often divided into two categories: home observances and synagogue observances. The Passover seder is generally considered the most popular of the home observances. But the distinctions aren’t as sharp as that classification suggests, and a great many synagogues host well-attended seders. Etz Chaim has a long tradition of doing so. A seder is typically carried out either by multiple generations of a family or by a “community.” The Talmud refers to a group of people holding a Pesach seder as a chavurah – literally, an association of friends. There are numerous reasons why folks choose to attend a community seder.

Egypt, the year was 1492 . . . They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat!”) By coming to Etz Chaim’s seder, you get a proper (though not lengthy), easy-to-follow Passover experience expertly led by our rabbi. Finally, a community seder is fun! It gives you an opportunity to celebrate with old friends and to make new ones. It gives you the opportunity to discuss the intricacies of the festival with a larger circle of chaverim. It may introduce you to a different version of the Haggadah, new tunes, new ideas. So join us at Etz Chaim for a warm and convivial second seder, with delicious Kosher food and (of course) four rounds of wine. Unfortunately, space is limited, so please make your reservations early. B’shalom,

— Marshall Tinkle

First, both the Orthodox and Conservative traditions call for conducting a seder on both the first and second nights of the eight-day holiday. Putting on two consecutive seders is a lot of work. It can also seem repetitious. Going to a community seder for the second night adds variety to the Pesach experience, as well as giving the household chef(s) a welcome respite. That’s why Etz Chaim always holds its seder on the second night. Second, lots of folks happen to be far away from their families when Pesach rolls around. Others may not have families with whom they can share the holiday. Sharing a seder with a community can be at least as resonant as limiting it to one’s relatives (with probably fewer arguments). Third, not everyone has the learning or skill to conduct a meaningful seder. (I’m reminded of the satirical song by Jewmongous about a hastily conducted seder: “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Page 8

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Reserve Now For The Etz Chaim Community Seder

Rabbi Berenson will be leading the Etz Chaim Community Seder on the second night of Passover, Saturday, 31st March, beginning at 6 p.m. It will end when everyone has had their fill to eat and drink (of course!) and wants to go home. Seats are limited to the first 50 people who sign up. Tickets are $25 for adults and $12.50 for children and will include a Pesadiche (Kosher for Passover) meal including chicken soup with matzo balls, gefilte fish, roast brisket, potato kugel, two vegetables and dessert. Wine, tea and coffee are also included. For reservations, please e-mail portlandrabbi@gmail.com or telephone Rabbi Berenson on 207/329.9854. We sell out every year so get your seat while they are still available!

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Etz Chaim

Etz Chaim, formerly an Orthodox congregation, is now an egalitarian, unaffiliated synagogue enjoying a resurgence in membership. All are welcome to attend weekly services on Monday Evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as once-a-month on Friday evenings, and for special holidays throughout the year. Lifecycle ceremonies such as bar/bas mitzvahs, weddings, funerals, baby namings, and vow renewals all take place here. Contact us if you would like us to host your special event. Etz Chaim is located in the Downtown Portland Historic District, on the peninsula at the foot of Munjoy Hill. The neighborhood housed so many Jewish families at the turn of the twentieth century, that it was commonly referred to as “Jerusalem of the North.� Established in 1921, Etz Chaim is celebrating its 97th year of continuous service to Jews in Greater Portland and beyond.

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WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org

As always, Purim was a fun time at Etz Chaim, with the annual “shpiel” with the David Handwerker Players, music by the Casco Bay Tummlers and plenty of costumes, smiles and more than a bit of wine, belly dancing and Hamantaschen as well! More Of Ted Fleischaker’s Pix On The Next Page! WORDS from Etz Chaim A On the Web @ www.etzchaim-portland.org Page 11

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Profile for EtzChaimSynagog

03 2018 etzchaim passover2018 news letter  

03 2018 etzchaim passover2018 news letter

03 2018 etzchaim passover2018 news letter  

03 2018 etzchaim passover2018 news letter