Donovan Berthoud/Herald Life
Chanie Kramer, right, lit candles with Mirel, Sarah and Leah before the Seder.
Bellmore-Merrick residents were able to gather around a festive table to commemorate the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt 3,300 years ago, thanks to the Chabad Center for Jewish Life.
The organization, which represents Bellmore, Merrick and Wantagh, hosted community-wide Passover Seders on April 14 and 15 in Merrick. All members of the Jewish community were welcome to join Chabad for a feast and observe the holiday.
Chabad has held the community Seder events for the past four years. Chanie Kramer, who coordinates the event, noted that the Seders have become so popular that organizers had to use an overflow room to accommodate all the guests in 2013. She added that last year’s success caused her to especially look forward to the 2014 Seders.
“It was an exciting opportunity to meet new people, share thoughts together and enjoy great food,” said said. “The Seder meals are interactive, warm and vibrant, interspersed with lively discussion through group participation as well as individual involvement.”
During the celebration, children ask questions, such as, ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’ Organizers said they also re-enact the 10 biblical plagues, including frogs and hail, which they said rained down on the Egyptians after the Pharoah denied Moses’ plea to free the Jewish people. Children also searched for the afikomen or hidden matzoh.
Rabbi Shimon Kramer, who offered explanations and commentary based on mystical and Kabbalistic beliefs, humor and song, led the Seders. Participants also enjoyed a glatt kosher, four-course holiday dinner with their choice of wine.
Kramer explained that the meal is an important part of the holiday. The Passover Seder incorporates 15 multi-sensory steps which “reach deep into the human psyche in every way possible and all at once,” she said. “The observances at the Seder table allow one to actually re-experience a modern-day Exodus, facilitating one’s own spiritual rebirth and enabling him or her to forge a new path toward a life of holiness and spiritual meaning.”