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County's Jewish Community to Mark Passover

March 26, 1994|TRACY WILSON

Jews in Ventura County are invited to a community Seder Sunday evening in Ventura to celebrate Passover, the holiday commemorating the Israelites' freedom from Egyptian slavery about 4,000 years ago.

The Ventura Jewish Council-Temple Beth Torah, one of the county's largest synagogues, is sponsoring the Seder at 5:15 p.m. at the Poinsettia Pavilion, 3451 Foothill Road.

Although Passover begins at sundown today, most Jewish families celebrate the first night of Passover with a Seder at home, said Rabbi Michael Berk.

Seder is the traditional meal that celebrates the Jews' exodus and includes ceremonial foods, such as matzo bread, lamb and bitter herbs, which symbolize aspects of the Passover story.

The preschool at Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks celebrated Passover a day early Friday with a Seder lunch.

"The social hall was filled to capacity," said Eta Weinstein, office manager of the preschool, who counted about 400 kids and parents. "It was really delightful. We had all the special things on the plate--they ate everything."

As told in the Bible, God sent the angel of death to claim the firstborn of every household in Egypt. But Jewish households, identified by a marking of lamb's blood on the doorway, were "passed over" and their children spared. After they were freed by the Pharaoh the Jews left Egypt for the promised land.

"Passover is especially significant in a time of racial strife, such as now, because it is really a universal liberation holiday," Berk said.

Passover services will be held Sunday at 10 a.m. at the Temple Beth Torah in Ventura, and services at the Temple Etz Chaim in Thousand Oaks will run throughout the week.

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