Cel­e­brat­ing free­dom

Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton woman host­ing Jewish Seder


Do you know what a Seder is? A Trin­ity South woman is hold­ing one next week and you’re in­vited. To find out all about it turn to our Trin­ity South page.

If you want to cel­e­brate the beginning of Passover or are in­ter­ested in learn­ing about a dif­fer­ent cul­ture you should drop by Shaeina Lerman’s home next Mon­day, March 29.

Lerman, a res­i­dent of Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton and a Jew, is host­ing a Seder beginning at 6 p.m.

The event, a Jewish rit­ual feast, marks the beginning of the seven-day fes­ti­val of Passover and com­mem­o­rates the Jewish slaves ex­o­dus from Egypt.

“It’s a time to re­mem­ber the slaves be­ing lead out of Egypt by Moses,” ex­plains Lerman. “It’s a re­li­gious time, but it is also a time of praise, thanks­giv­ing and re­flec­tion about the im­por­tance of free­dom.”

Lerman, who grew up in the states and moved to Canada in 1971, says Seder was al­ways a big cel­e­bra­tion in her home.

“It is just as big of a deal for us Jews as Christ­mas is for peo­ple of other re­li­gions,” she said. “A lot of clean­ing and cook­ing takes place. A Jewish house is pre­pared the same way as oth­ers would pre­pare for Christ­mas. It’s a busy time for women.”

The Seder, held be­tween the mid­dle of March and the end of April each year, is based on the Gregorian cal­en­dar.

“It’s a spring hol­i­day that is de­ter­mined by

“Any­one who wants to drop by is more than wel­come. You do not have to be Jewish to cel­e­brate Seder. The mes­sage of free­dom is some­thing no one, no

mat­ter what their re­li­gion should take for granted.”

— Shaeina Lerman, Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton

the He­brew Cal­en­dar, but like Easter and Good Fri­day, it gets moved around year to year,” Lerman ex­plained.

While many Jewish hol­i­days re­volve around the syn­a­gogue, the Seder is con­ducted in the fam­ily home, which is open to guests, es­pe­cially strangers and the needy.

“ Jewish fam­i­lies come to­gether and friends and guests are in­vited as well,” says Lerman. “Shar­ing the oc­ca­sion with guests is re­ally the whole point of the hol­i­day.”

On March 29 Lerman hopes to have a full house.

“ If there are any Jewish peo­ple in the area they are more than wel­come to cel­e­brate Seder with me,” she says. The same in­vi­ta­tion is ex­tended to oth­ers. “Any­one who wants to drop by is more than wel­come. You do not have to be Jewish to cel­e­brate Seder. The mes­sage of free­dom is some­thing no one, no mat­ter what their re­li­gion should take for granted.”

The word Seder comes from the He­brew verb which means to put in or­der.

“And that’s what hap­pens dur­ing Seder.... ev­ery­thing is put in or­der,” says Lerman.

Strict rules

The rules sur­round­ing the Passover Seder are strict and many, with only spe­cial foods, uten­sils, and dish­ware al­lowed.

“ We eat a lot of kosher foods that have sym­bolic mean­ings at­tached to them,” says Lerman.

Leav­ened bread (con­tain­ing yeast) and grains are re­placed with Matzah - a cracker like flat­bread made of plain wa­ter and flour.

“ This is to com­mem­o­rates the time when the Jewish slaves fled quickly into the desert with no time for their bread to rise and were forced to bake the dough into hard crack­ers in the desert sun,” she ex­plains.

Lerman also plans on serv­ing charoset - a sweet, dark-col­ored, lumpy paste made of fruits and nuts and cin­na­mon.

“Its colour and tex­ture rep­re­sents the mor­tar which the Jewish slaves used to bond the bricks when they were held cap­tive in an­cient Egypt.”

To com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion Lerman will read from the Hag­gadah - a Jewish re­li­gious text that sets out the or­der of the Passover Seder. Read­ing the Hag­gadah is a ful­fil­ment of the scrip­tural com­mand­ment to each Jew to “ tell your son” about the Jewish lib­er­a­tion from slav­ery in Egypt as de­scribed in the Book of Ex­o­dus in the To­rah. (“And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, say­ing: It is be­cause of that which the LORD did for me when I came forth out of Egypt Ex­o­dus 13: 8). The event also in­cludes spe­cial Passover songs, rit­u­als and bless­ings.

Share in cul­ture

Al­though Seder is a wide­spread Jewish custom, peo­ple of all de­nom­i­na­tions are wel­come.

“ This is the sec­ond time I’ve held a Seder in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton and all those who have at­tended in the past were not dis­ap­pointed,” says Lerman who moved to the Trin­ity South town two years ago. “I’m not try­ing to get peo­ple to con­vert to Ju­daism or any­thing like that. The peo­ple here in the area have been very kind to me and even though I don’t cel­e­brate Christ­mas I al­ways get in­vited out dur­ing that happy hol­i­day be­cause af­ter all no one wants to be left out when there’s a party tak­ing place. Seder is also a happy oc­ca­sion. I’m just hop­ing oth­ers will help me cel­e­brate it and share in my cul­ture. If they’re in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing, I live on the main road in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton and my num­ber is 588-2990.”

BROWN­IES - Mem­bers of the 2nd Wood­land Sparks group help Sal­va­tion Army Cap­tion Chris Pil­grim re­stock the food bank shelves at the Sal­va­tion Army Trin­ity Bay South Corps in Dildo. The group along with the 1st Wood­land Girl Guides and Brown­ies raised 260 pounds of food, more than dou­ble what they had an­tic­i­pated. How­ever it isn’t the first time the group ex­ceeded a goal. Last year they raised enough money to buy 60 in­stead of 40 mos­qui­toes nets for Africa.

CHEER­FUL GIVERS - The 1st Wood­land Girl Guides, 1st Wood­land Brown­ies and 2nd Wood­land Sparks group and their leaders present Cap­tain Chris Pil­grim of the Sal­va­tion Army Trin­ity Bay South Corps with 260 pounds of food. The food drive, the Erad­i­cate Hunger and Poverty Chal­lenge, is one of many ac­tiv­i­ties planned this year to ac­knowl­edge the 100th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of the Girl Guides of Canada.

GET­TING READY - Shaeina Lerman reads from the Hag­gadah in prepa­ra­tion for Seder, a Jewish rit­ual feast that marks the beginning of Passover and com­mem­o­rates the Jewish slaves ex­o­dus from Egypt. Lerman, who is host­ing a Seder at her home in Heart’s De­light-Is­ling­ton March 29, is hop­ing Jews and Chris­tians will drop by to help her cel­e­brate.

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