VACAVILLE — The fifth annual Chabad Solano County Passover Seder went on as planned Monday in spite of deadly violence Sunday outside a Jewish community center in the Midwest.
There was no reason it shouldn’t, said Rabbi Chaim Zaklos, citing text of thanksgiving from the Haggadah, a Jewish text that sets for the order of the Passover Seder.
“The Jewish people are still around to tell the story (of the Passover),” he said. “God protects us. God saves us.”
A boy and his grandfather outside a Jewish community center near Kansas City, and a woman at a nearby Jewish retirement facility, were shot and killed Sunday by a man who is said to have a long history of spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Jospeh Sason, a Vacaville resident, said he gave a brief thought to not attending the Vacaville event. Like Zaklos, Sason said he felt God’s protection.
There was so much to be grateful for, Zaklos said. Not only was it the first night of Passover, Zaklos and his wife Aidel Zaklos had welcomed their fourth child, a son, just a few hours before the matzo breaking began.
He kept the focus on the meaning of Passover, the liberation of Jewish people from slavery more than 3,000 years ago.
With doses of humor, raised glasses of wine and symbolic foods, the Passover Seder brought together the young and the old.
Sandy and Larry Corman used to host the Passover Seder at their home. Now, their children are grown and they gather with others in the Jewish community to mark the holiday.
“It reconnects you to your faith,” Larry Corman said of the event, which is steeped in rituals.
It connects people around the world, Sandy Corman said, noting that Jewish people around the globe would be celebrating the same way, with the same food.
Larry Corman said he felt the Kansas shootings put a damper on the holiday but wouldn’t let it keep him from attending.
“You are supposed to go ahead and celebrate even though you don’t understand why something bad happened,” Sandy Corman said.
Sason and his wife Evelyn used to celebrate Passover with their children. Now, they are empty nesters and enjoy celebrating with others in the same community. She converted from Catholicism and feels she is still learning Jewish traditions.
“I grew up in it and take it for granted,” Joseph Sason said of his wife’s dedication to Judaism.
Growing up, Sason said it seemed like an endless wait to listen to the Haggadah prior to eating the main feast. When his children started to get the same restlessness, he said he told them to go watch “The Ten Commandments.”
Galila Kitzes attended the Passover Seder with her 13-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son. The event is a way to celebrate her culture, she said. She focuses less on the religious aspect, she said.
Zaklos claimed the right to kick off the evening with a joke before introducing a humorous skit involving a father trying to get his two children home for Passover. He tells his daughter he’s divorcing his wife, her mother, after 47 years of marriage. She calls her brother and breaks the news to him. Both agree to fly home.
The man hangs up and tells his wife to start cooking because their children are coming home for Passover and playing for their own tickets.
Those who attended were encouraged to engage with the world, to find ways to make it a holy place.
“What does it mean to be holy?” Zaklos asked rhetorically. “It means you march to your own beat, the Godly beat.”
Before beginning the 15 Passover Seder steps, which include four glasses of wine, Zaklos encouraged those attending to “don’t just eat drink, and be merry” but to “eat, drink and be holy.”
A second night Passover Seder is planned Tuesday.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.