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Beth-El Happenings


By Ramona L. Brand, Director of Youth Learning

The Mixed Multitudes of the Jewish People

The Passover story tells us that when the Israelites left Egypt a “mixed multitude went up with them.” (Exodus 12:28) We don’t know exactly who that mixed multitude was then, but we sure know that we are a mixed multitude now!

The global Jewish Family is diverse with varied customs. Why not expand your Passover horizons to include some of the following beautiful practices to enliven your Seder. Elijah does not have to be the only Seder guest traveling the globe for Peseach!

  • In Ethiopia matriarch of the family breaks her earthenware dishes, symbolizing a break with the past.
  • Jews of Afghani and Irani descent use scallions to represent the whips of the Egyptians overseers. They lightly tap the back of the person sitting next to them while singing Dayenu.
  • Polish Jews re-enact the crossing of the Red Sea, during the Seder, sometimes pouring water on the floor! Romanian Jews do the same, but fill pillow cases with heavy objects and drag them around.
  • The leader of a Spanish or North African Seder circles the tables tapping the heads of the guests three times as a blessing.
  • One Hungarian Jewish custom is to decorate the Seder table with jewelry to symbolize the gold and silver the Egyptians gave the Israelites to hasten their departure.
  • In India an additional wine glass called a Pharoah’s Cup sits on the table. Rather than filling it, the cup is emptied of its wine into guests’ glasses
  • Families of Moroccan and Algerian descent rejoice in the end of Passover with a Mimouna, a celebration that includes a feast of lavish sweets and pastries.
  • Travel the globe by reciting the Four Questions in different languages.

Visit these web sites to learn more about these international Jewish Seder Customs:



April Religious School Calendar:

Sundays: April 24

Wednesdays: April 13 and 27

Pre-K meets: 24

Grades 8 – 10 meet:  April 24/ 10 a.m. – noon

Chaverim Katanim: April 24 / 9:30-10:30 a.m. 

Contact Ramona L. Brand, director of Youth Learning at (804) 355-3564 ext. 111 or r.brand@bethelrichmond.org to learn more about our vibrant Jewish education and our remarkable congregation or visit http://www.bethelrichmond.org/education/brown-religious-school/  to find a registration form.

As the photos show, Adar was sweet indeed as Beth-El students and teachers had a joyful Purim celebration all together!