As Passover approaches, several well-known community seniors reflect on their special Seder memories spanning the years.
Honoured many times for her outstanding community leadership, Marie Doduck derived much pleasure in seeing her family’s participations – from generation to generation – in the cherished Judaic tradition of the Seder proceedings.
“I felt such pride”, Marie says, “when my daughters, Bernice (Carmeli), Cathy (Golden) and Sheryl (Young) (z’l), all of whom attended Talmud Torah, did their first readings of the Passover story – I was so pleased that they could all run a Seder”. As the years passed there were more joyful times as Marie emotionally recalls being at the first Seder with her then four very young grandchildren, all born just a few months apart. And, yes, they sat in high-chairs (three of which were borrowed from friends) with plastic sheets on the floors.
The priceless memories Marie felt – from generation to generation – continued over the following years up to the present: “Now they’re all grown-up, my daughters and the grandchildren (all seven of whom are graduates of both Talmud Torah and King David High School), all still partake in the Seder services and each one, including my daughters, still sing their parts that they learned as children”.
The Dayson-Nemetz-Wosk family was the focus of Passover remembrances for Shirley Dayson Barnett, long one of the community’s most dedicated leaders.
“My earliest memories of Passover Seders”, Shirley says, “were from the basement of my mother’s sister, Chava Wosk (z’l). There were long tables with 60 or 70 people and, of course, tons of food. Not being very religious, the emphasis, was on food!” Later, Passovers at the home of her parents, Ben (z’l) and Esther (z’l) Dayson, saw Seder tables “set beautifully with fabulous flowers, and silver and crystal once again the emphasis.” A home open to family and friends, the Seders were yearly the destination for every Jewish National Fund shaliach (emissary). “Even though not religious, it was father’s preference to have the men sitting close by so they could be called upon in a moment’s notice… and the women, of course, could help serve”, Shirley recalls.
Tzvia Estrin’s remembrances of significant Seders span back to Israel, where as a native-born Sabra, “Passover in the Jewish State had a special meaning for its message of freedom for the Jewish People.” “They were happy, inspirational evenings for all of our family and friends”, Tzvia stresses.
That elation for Pesach continued when she moved to Vancouver, a joy which she enthusiastically expressed at large family Seders, and as well, at the Louis Brier Home and Hospital where she avidly and compassionately served for 25 years as the facility’s Program Director. Tzvia emotionally emphasized that she would “never forget the look of involvement and delight on the residents’ faces at the Home’s Seders – they were truly special times”.
For Maurice Moses, whose stirring tenor voice has graced community events and choirs for over six decades, Passover in his youth in Bangalore, India saw his parents, George (z’l) and Sarah (z’l) Moses, leading large, longinto-the-night Seders.
The family, with 11 children and so many relatives, also warmly welcomed numerous friends as well as many single World War II Canadian, British and American Jewish servicemen to the Seder table. The invitations to the servicemen were light-heartedly extended; Maurice’s parents felt that with six unmarried daughters then at home, and with few Jewish men in India, any opportunity for the girls to meet eligible young males should be readily taken. And, yes, it produced four positive results. During the Seders “the soldiers would sometimes, when dipping the wine indicating wishes for plagues, jokingly put a curse on some of their unpopular commanding officers”, Maurice said.
The melodies, which were passionately sung throughout the evening, were of Sephardic origin, stemming from Baghdad, Iraq, where Maurice’s parents were born, and from India. Additionally, the soldiers offered their favourite Ashkenazi tunes. The family moved to Vancouver in 1954, continuing the tradition of holding large Sephardic Seders, initially at the parents’ home and later at the residence of his sister, Joyce (Bernie) Freeman. “They were such wonderful occasions,” Maurice recalled, his voice filled with emotion.
Best Wishes to All for a Most Healthy, Happy, Memorable Passover.