Click here for PDF Edition

2014-04-25 digital edition

ABOUT US   |   ADVERTISE   |   DEADLINES   |   PR INFO   |   SUBMIT   |   DELIVERY   |   CONTACT US  |  FEEDBACK
TODAY in the Jewish World:

Click on logo for link:



Click on logo for link:

The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

April 25, 2014  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Creative Seder: Thinking inside the sand box

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


Above: Ethel Pila, foreground, leads the Seder as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico. Seated from the left are Toby, Diana and Bonnie Elozory and Beth Kaplan. Top right (L-R): Ayala, Yoni and Shira Wasser read from the Haggadah. Bottom right (L-R) Bill and Lisa Sholk bless daughter, Bari Sholk. Above: Ethel Pila, foreground, leads the Seder as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico. Seated from the left are Toby, Diana and Bonnie Elozory and Beth Kaplan. Top right (L-R): Ayala, Yoni and Shira Wasser read from the Haggadah. Bottom right (L-R) Bill and Lisa Sholk bless daughter, Bari Sholk. Ethel Pila could not figure out how to part the Gulf of Mexico, but the setting for her “Seder in the Sand” was aimed at helping her guests relate to the Jews’ flight from slavery in the Egyptian desert.

Lacking a desert, Pila’s Seder was held on the sandy beach behind her Redington Shores condo, a fishing pier in the background. A gorgeous sunset cast a dazzling line of light across the water, making it easy to imagine a path to freedom.

Pila even had a sand sculpture pyramid created next to the Seder site and molded the charoset into mini pyramids. The sand sculpture soon became a favorite spot for kids with shovels as they dug a moat and the charoset was a hit with young and old alike.

“I wanted to do something different this year. A Seder in the sand is reminiscent of the Jews in the desert and I am blessed that I have this spot along the beach where I can hold the Seder,” Pila said as guests began to gather. Pila, and husband Kalman are Tampa residents, but maintain a second home along the Pinellas Gulf beaches.

“It helps to keep the religion alive if you do things out of the box,” she said. “I am hoping this will elicit some intellectual discussions of what it means to be free – as well as generate comments on the things we are enslaved to.”

Pila said she gave her husband, Kalman, the year off from his traditional job of leading the Seder and she did the planning and directing herself.

In addition to the pyramid and a fire pit – where kids roasted marshmallows – several tents and a variety of beach chairs and beach blankets were set up so that there could be “a discussion in the round,” during the Seder, Pila said.

Beach buckets filled with water were used for washing hands and smaller pails of salt water for dipping celery. At one point during the Seder, when salt water delivery seemed to bog down, guest Eric Weiner jokingly suggested to nearby children that it was just a short walk to the Gulf if they needed more salt water.

Pila had four sets of Haggadahs for folks to choose from as the Seder began. There was a speaker and portable microphone and Pila passed the mic around for various readings and storytelling.

After a reading about the tenplagues, participants were asked to share stories of their own perilous times.

Ruth Elozory told how she and her sister, Diana, and mom, Bonnie, had a close encounter with a bear foraging for food outside their tent while they were hiking on the Appalachian Trail last summer. As Ruth told the story, the suspense built, with folks waiting to find out if the bear attacked. But they laughed when Ruth said after listening to the bear for a while, she and her sister fell asleep and the bear was gone in the morning.


Daphna Shull dips water from a beach bucket as Toby and Bonnie Elozory hold out their hands for the Seder’s ceremonial washing. 
Jewish Press photos by BOB FRYER Daphna Shull dips water from a beach bucket as Toby and Bonnie Elozory hold out their hands for the Seder’s ceremonial washing. Jewish Press photos by BOB FRYER About 35 family members and guests attended the Seder, which was followed by the Passover meal on her condo pool deck. Pila owns a catering business, so it was no surprise that the food was a hit. “They loved the food. I got lots of positive comments on the Sephardic charoset pyramids and my ‘amazing’seven-layer Passover cake,” she said.

Some of those in attendance included Amy Wasser, head of Hillel Academy in Tampa; Beth Schlossberg, cantor at Congregation Kol Ami in Tampa; and Claudia Valins, former director of the Tampa JCC preschool. One of Pila’s three daughters, Daphna Shull, was able to make it, as well as Pila’s parents, Norman and Irene Sholk, who drove over from Boynton Beach. Kalman’s parents, Solomon and Herta Pila of Tampa, also attended.


Sarah Weiner, Max Weiner and Diana Elozory play next to a sand sculpture made to look like an Egyptian pyramid for the Seder in the Sand. Sarah Weiner, Max Weiner and Diana Elozory play next to a sand sculpture made to look like an Egyptian pyramid for the Seder in the Sand. “For those who stuck it out till the end, we finished up the Seder after dinner in the hot tub with the third and fourth cups of wine and lots of joyful singing,” Pila said.

She is already planning on another beachside Seder next year, keeping much of what seemed to work and thinking of ways to make the event even better. “More guests and more wine,” she said, are on her list for her 2015 Seder.


Ethel Pila holds the mic for her father-in-law, Solomon Pila, to read from the Haggadah, as Solomon’s wife, Herta, follows along. Ethel Pila holds the mic for her father-in-law, Solomon Pila, to read from the Haggadah, as Solomon’s wife, Herta, follows along. Regardless of what she does differently next year, she was satisfied with the first attempt.

“The setting sun, the relaxed, come-as-you-are in shorts and Tshirts attire, our feet in the sand like our ancestors traveling through the desert on their way to the Promised Land, the feeling that everyone truly just enjoyed being together and sharing this unique Seder experience. One couldn’t help but acknowledge how blessed we are to live lives filled with such freedom,” she said.

Pila’s father said he loved the idea of the Seder in the Sand. “We always just did the standard Maxwell House Seders, straight from the book.”



Seth Sholk reads from the Haggadah about the Ten Plagues. He and Daphna Shull are seated in the sand in front of one of several tents erected around the Seder site. Seth Sholk reads from the Haggadah about the Ten Plagues. He and Daphna Shull are seated in the sand in front of one of several tents erected around the Seder site.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Click ads below for larger version