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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 2, 2004 / 12 Nissan, 5764

A truly American Passover

By Rabbi Yaacov Polskin


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Civil War seders that have an important contemporary message


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The effort and hard work preparing for the Passover seder culminates with the commemoration of our historic exodus from Egypt and thanking the Divine for His kindness.


Throughout our history, the annual rite has been observed despite difficult periods for our People. Against all odds, and improvised under harsh conditions, we've always strived to conduct the ceremony properly.


An exhibit now touring the country, "From the mountains to the prairie: 350 years of Kosher & Jewish life in America" includes the poignant accounts of two Civil War servicemen. Though political enemies — one was a Northerner and the other a Southerner — as Jews, they both persevered to observe Z'man Chayruseinu, the season of our freedom, when doing so seemed an impossibility.

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In the Spring of 1862, J.A. Joel, a member of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment, was stationed in what is now West Virginia. Four years later, in an article in The Jewish Messenger, he described the scene when he and twenty other Jews in the regiment were relieved from duty to be able to hold a Seder.


The camp supplier, who was traveling to Cincinnati, had provided the Jewish soldiers with seven barrels of matzah, two Haggados and prayer books.


But that was it.

One group of the young men built a log hut to serve as a temporary sanctuary for the service. Another was sent off to forage for more supplies. They returned with cider instead of wine, a lamb, chickens and eggs. Missing, though, were the traditional horseradish or parsley — integral seder ingredients.


"In lieu we found a weed, whose bitterness, I apprehend, exceeded anything our forefathers 'enjoyed,'" writes Joel.


They were unable to make charoses, the sweet mixture representing the mortar used by the Israelites to build the pyramids in Egypt. So, Joel recounts wryly, "we got a brick which, rather hard to digest, reminded us, by looking at it, for what purpose it was intended."


Everything went well until it came time to eat the substitute bitter herb. "The herb was very bitter and fiery like Cayenne pepper," he writes. The celebrants gulped down the cider, which was apparently hard and had its effect. "One thought he was Moses, another Aaron, and one had the audacity to call himself Pharaoh. The consequence was a skirmish, with nobody hurt."


Moses, Aaron and Pharaoh were carried back to camp to sleep it off.


"There in the wilds of West Virginia, away from home and friends," Joel states prouldly, if not deservedly, "we consecrated and offered up to the ever-loving G-d of Israel our prayers and sacrifice."

Isaac J. Levy, of the 46th Virginia Infantry, was stationed at Adams Run, S.C., in 1864. In a letter to his sister, he described observing Passover with his brother, Ezekiel, a captain, who arrived for the holiday with enough matzah to last a week.


"We are observing the festival in a truly Orthodox style. On the first day we had a fine vegetable soup. It was made of a bunch of vegetables which Zeke brought from Charleston containing new onions, parsley, carrots turnips and a young cauliflower also a pound and a half of fresh (kosher) beef, the latter article sells for four dollars per pound in Charleston. Zeke E. did not bring us any meat from home. He brought some of his own, smoked meat, which he is sharing with us, he says that he supposes that Pa forgot to deliver it to him."

These descriptions are timely because of their timelessness. The memoirs are picturesque as they depict the Jewish soul's yearning to relive Yetzias Mitzraim, the Exodus


These historical riveting anecdotes embody the seder's mystique and should have an important message for us, now: Somehow the interrogative dialogue surrounding the Four Questions retains its vitality no matter where it takes place. Three millennia later, the zeitgeist of the miraculous Exodus from Egypt is recaptured each year in every day and age.


What is it that underscores this phenomenon?


The Haggadah comments of the Jews' experience in Egypt that they were distinguishable as a nation apart. Their style of dress and language differed than those of their host country. Our sages further comment that even in the fleshpot of Egypt, the Israelites observed the mitzvos, the precepts handed down orally from their forefathers, preserving their identity.


This is a precursor for the Jewish experience. The Torah inspires that those who remember their glorious past are destined to repeat its success, for a Supreme Entity ensures Jewish continuity.


West Virginia circa 1862 and Adams Run, South Carolina, are a case in point. The United States was largely terra incognita for most Jews. Yet these dedicated individuals brought the homefront to the warfront to uphold their traditions.


In a signature phrase, the Haggadda narrative declares: "One who expounds on the Exodus story at length is meshubach", praiseworthy. The classic commentators remark that by incorporating the lessons of the miraculous Exodus into one's personality, one becomes a better individual, as he discusses how the One Above charts the course of human events for all of civilization.


The seder night carries the day; like the High Holidays, it leaves its mark on the remainder of the year. Indeed, a story is told of a guest who once graced the table of Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner. Inadvertently, he spilled some wine on the pristine white tablecloth. It was an awkward moment. But with his sagacious counsel, the sage put the guest at ease. "Feel at home," said he. "A tablecloth Passover night without any droplets of wine is like a Yom Kippur machzor (prayer book) without any tears."


The seder is a table of contents that infuses us with hope from the past to believe in the future. He Who performed miracles long ago will sound the shofar as we hail the clarion call, "Next Year in Jerusalem."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in uplifting articles. Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Rabbi Yaacov Polskin is a lecturer with the Gesher Outreach organization. Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Rabbi Yaacov Polskin