After the Fire: 4 Questions for Parents
This Passover, let’s take Gabriel Sassoon’s
heartbroken words to heart.
We are all reeling from the tragic loss that
has rocked the Jewish world. Seven souls,
seven angels whose sweet voices I just heard
singing “Cry No More Yerushalayim” on a
recording released by theSassoon
family. It is difficult for me to keep
listening; I wipe away my tears. Who cannot
be touched by this tsunami of grief?
his eulogy, Gabriel Sassoon’s voice shook as
he described each of his beautiful children
who had perished in the tragic fire. He told
the anguished crowd, “I want to ask my
children for forgiveness. I did my best and
my wife did her best. Please, everybody,
love your child. That’s all that counts.
Let us take this heartbroken father’s
words to heart. To honor the memory of these
children, let us take the time beforePassoverbegins
to learn how to love each child better. This
holiday is our opportunity to engage our
sons and daughters, connect with them, and
teach them how much God cares for them. The
Hagaddah guides us in our quest to renew our
bond with each child sitting at our table
and make them feel cherished and adored.
The following four questions
1. Did I
search for my personal chametz?
On the eve before the Passover Seder we
conduct a search for chametz-leaven. After
the search we say, “Any type of leaven that
may still be in my possession, that I have
not seen or removed, let it be considered
nullified.” We are not just speaking about
clearing our physical homes but as we
prepare for Passover, we must take time to
clean our spiritual homes within our hearts.
Passover gives us the energy to do a
‘spiritual cleanse’ as we purge ourselves of
negative character traits.
Before the holiday begins, take a moment
and consider which character traits are
causing a disconnect with our children. Is
it a short fuse that brings angry reactions
instead of calm to our home? Are we
impatient so that we seem indifferent and
uncaring? Do we push our loved ones away by
being negative and judgmental? Do we seem to
put technology first by constantly checking
iPhones and emails while our family is
trying to speak with us?
Don’t allow this moment to pass. Set a
clear goal to rid yourself of the trait that
is preventing you from building the home you
have always dreamed of. This will take
commitment, hard work and dedication. Do not
give up. Your children are waiting for you
to raise them with love.
2. Do I create
seder-order in my home?
Before we begin the Seder, we enumerate
the 15 parts of the Seder in order to show
how crucial it is for us to give thought to
our actions and words. We should always live
our days with meaning and perspective. We
waste precious time and mess up
relationships when we simply coast along and
stop paying attention to those we love. This
impacts our parenting. When we discipline
without thinking, we say and do hurtful
things. When we react emotionally, we lose
control. Parenting with ‘seder-order’ means
that we parent purposefully. Our homes are
not filled with chaos, which causes
confusion and insecurity. Daily routines and
relationships built on respect bring
stability. Children thrive when they feel
safe. Knowing that parents are consistent,
thoughtful about their parenting, and living
in harmony provides the ‘seder’ that
children need to succeed. Let us plan how to
make this happen.
3. Am I tuned
in to the emotional needs of my children?
As we begin to recite the story of our
people, we lift up our Seder plate, uncover
our matzahs and say, “This is the poor bread
that our forefathers ate in the land of
Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat.
Let all who are needy come and celebrate.”
One would think that it is a little late to
begin inviting guests to our Seder table at
this point. After all, we are seated and
ready to begin. Where are we finding hungry
and needy people now?
If we would open up our eyes and really
see the children who are sitting around us,
we would notice the hunger for love and a
kind word that gnaws at their souls. It is
not simply physical hunger that we are being
asked to feed. We are being taught to
recognize that parents have the
responsibility to nourish a child’s desire
to feel cared for. Some children require
more hugs and kisses. They long for a loving
touch that, as children grow, parents forget
to give. Others yearn for a kind word, warm
laughter, an encouraging smile. Days go by
and we have given many directions and
commands but a good word has hardly been
Seder night, look around your table. Give
each child your blessing. Embrace your
family with the compassion that they so
badly need. We speak of the Four Sons.
Understand that there are all types of
children; each deserves a place in your
4. Do I live
my life in color?
Jews all over the world sing the melody
of ‘Dayenu’. We describe the many
incredible miracles that God has showered
upon our nation and after each is
enumerated, we say one word:Dayenu!
– ‘This would have been enough!’ Here lies
one of the most valuable life lessons we can
ever hope to transmit to our children. If we
could teach ourselves to see the many
kindnesses that God has granted us from the
moment we took our first breath in this
world, we would be able to guide our
children to be cognizant of the ‘blessing of
enough’. Nothing is random; life should
never be taken for granted. By breaking down
each instant and then learning to say ‘thank
You, God’, we come to live life in color
instead of black and white.
Most of us think about what we are
lacking. We easily complain or feel badly
for ourselves. When we redirect our eyes to
see the good, we take ourselves to a
positive place. Our children learn how to
appreciate the gifts that God has granted
us. This is the road to joy. It begins with
our appreciation for our lives.
This Passover, let us dedicate our Seders
to these seven holy souls who left this
world with a message to us all. Parents,
think about the gift of life that we have
been given. Every child is precious. As
Gabriel Sassoon cried, “The souls of my
children live on in my heart and my wife’s
heart. But not just with us – in the heart
of the entire nation…They are there.”
What’s It All About, Anyway?
Rivki D. Rosenwald Esq., CLC, SDS
"Hey could you please -Pass over the salt."
"Slow down you've got to -Pass over the speed
bump in the road." "Pass over- the answers; I
was too tired to study last night." You see
Pass over can have many applications.
We are about to Pass over 7000 new calories to
our bodies, 9 tons of matzah to our kishkas, and
5000 years of Jewish history to our families and
Haggadah?! "Ha-gga-dah go to sleep already"; is
a big cry at our Seder table." But luckily it's
usually from the guests who have never been
there before. Everyone who has survived one of
our marathon Seders before, knows it's a night
to cherish and remember!! The singing, the
dancing, the stories, the bonding, the leaning,
the dipping, the laughing and the kazayising.
Yes the kazayising, is a ritual in and of
itself. We pass around measurement charts to
make sure we are eating enough of every single
crumb of matzah, and morsel of ritual food.
We scrape and strain fresh morror and then have
survival contests. The intensity of the fist
pounding and guttural coughing, as the victims
attempt to keep breathing while swallowing this
bitter, bitter herb, is only out done by the
intensity of the redness of their faces!
We sit in a square circle, whatever that means,
so that all the participants can see and hear
one another throughout the night.
Every kid shows up with their trunk load of
divrei Torah (Insights into the Haggadah) that
they could never have finished reading, even if
they wandered the desert for all 40 years!!!
Somewhere along the night they are truly shocked
by the realization that they will not get to
share all for them. They must have informed them
in school that they were actually going to be
reliving the entire exodus, hour for hour!
Then at around midnight we bring out the 10
course meal. The amount and variety we supply
are not required -but for this gang - if they
sat at the table for this long they want to be
rewarded for it.
Believe it or not- Despite having consumed more
greens then a cow does in a lifetime as part of
the order of the night, they are ready for the
meal! The endless dishes are served and everyone
Later, stuffed like turkeys , we resume the
closing ceremonies and dance and sing the night
So what is it exactly we are -Passing Over -in
this night of sharing our history of our
having been carried on the wings of Eagles from
slavery? And -What is it that we are getting
out of our sitting together, eating
commemorative foods, and sharing songs and
stories of our journey to freedom?
Here it is ...We are passing over -to the next
generation the secret of our survival. Being a
family. Remembering who we are and who helped us
get here. We are passing over the secret of
never forgetting and having gratitude for the
goodness one extends to us.
Gd passed over the houses of the Jewish people
when he was carrying out the last plague of
killing the oldest child. He saved our children!
It is the children who are the continuity of the
nation and all its beautiful values and
traditions that are here to make the entire
world a better place. We are all someone's
child. It is our job to keep the traditions
So Passover all night, all you've got to give ,
and don't - Pass Out!!!
Have a beautiful, Passover! Passing love from
our home to Yours!
“Please G-d, let me partner with You
and go beyond my constrictions to a
place of expansiveness. Everything that
happens is part of Your perfect training
& development program for me. Help me
respond in the most noble way- help me
judge favorably, have compassion, let go
of having to be in control and give it
over to You, G-d. Please bless me with
an amazing year of walking with YOU.”
1. G-D, You have an incredible
vision for all of humanity and for me. I
want to fulfill Your vision of greatness
for me more and more. Please show me
what I most need to see gently.
2. I want to recognize the gifts in
my life and see the totality of the life
You gave me, the blessings and the
challenges, as an expression of Your
love. Please fill my heart with
3. I want to transcend my greatest
obstacles to fulfill Your vision for me.
Please help me partner with You and go
from a place of constraints to a place
4. Please bless me with all the
resources I need to fulfill Your vision
for me. (health, clarity,
relationships, a job, place to live
5. I want to make You King by living
myself more according to Your Definition
of reality and Your instructions for
living. Please guide me.
6. I resolve that I want to be
connected to You, G-D, as the source of
my wellbeing in life. And not rely on
ANYTHING or ANYONE else. Please help me
remember that no one else has power.
7. I resolve that this moment is the
dawn of a new era in my life.
I stand before You, the Creator of
the Universe, my loving Father, I look
at the Rosh Hashanah prayer and of
course I want to be connected to You as
the source of all life, and be the
beautiful person You created me to be; I
definitely don’t want any of the
mistaken choices of the past to stand in
the way. Please help me repair whatever
needs fixing. I want this year to be
greater than any year I’ve ever had and
I want to be a bigger person than I’ve
ever been. Not just for my own sake but
for the Jewish people and humanity.
Please help me ask for the right things
and help me understand Your loving
I want today to be the dawn of a new
era in my life.
G-d, You know what I’m facing inside and
outside, please help me. “
Sundays only at 8:15am at 386 Felter Avenue,
Women gather to recite and hear at least 100
morning blessings so as to fulfill the mitzvah
of doing so. If you know of someone who is ill,
please feel free to call and provide the group
with the Hebrew name, so that those who are
present may pray for him or her. Haidee
Mondays at 4:15
pm (3-5 Year Olds) - a half hour
program of stories and a short
Tuesdays at 6:30 pm (Grades 4
- 7) Registration
- January 12 Program:
February 10 The
Theif Lord By: Cornelia
- February 9 Program:
To Be Announced
Time: Thursdays at 10:30am
(24 - 35 months) - A lively half-hour
of songs, stories, fingerplays,
movement and a short film for
a child accompanied by an adult.
Fridays at 10:00
am (12-23 months) - Programs of
songs, finger plays, nursery rhymes
and board books for very young
readers accompanied by a parent
Workshop: Thursdays at
10:00-11:15 (12-35 months)
A special program that encourages
parents to play, sing and do finger
plays with their children. Specialists
in the fields of Speech and Hearing,
Behavior and Development, Nutrition,
and Dance/Movement are available
at various sessions. Registration
is required and is being accepted
in the children's room.
with Arnold Rosenbaum:
Wednesdays at 1:00pm
The Defining Moment - FDR's First
Hundred Days and the Triumph of
Hope by Jonathan Alter. January
Economic Problems Facing the Middle
Class .Mr. Rosenbaum will present
his thoughts on the socioeconomic
problems facing the American middle
class. March 14
Be The Food of Love...Shakespeare
In Love: Sunday, January
7 at 2:30pm. New York jazz vocalist
Christiana Drapkin celebrates
the beauty and power of William
Shakespeare's poetry and presents
it in lively, sometimes haunting,
jazz arrangements. The songs are
direct quotations from Shakespeare's
plays. Tickets required.
and American Art:
January 8 at 1:00 pm. Picasso
is acknowledged by many as the
central figure of the modern movement.
Art historian Mary Vahey will
examine the sometimes worshipful,
sometimes testy relationship between
American artists and the Picasso,
the immensely inventive Spaniard.
January 17 at 1:00pm. Corliss
Whitney, the honorary historian
of the Rockette Alumnae, shares
poignant stories about her years
as a Rockette during the 40's
Way to Health - Humor
Therapy: Wednesday, January 24
at 1:00pm. A presentation that
will focus on the latest studies
that scientifically prove and
explain how and why laughter IS
the best medicine.
Does Merman: Sunday February
4 at 2:30pm. Songs and stories
celebrating Ethel Mermans brilliant
career will be brought to PPL
by vocalist Lisa Berman. Tickets
and Ancient Land of Contrasts:
Thursday, February 8 at 1:00pm.
Through lecture and slides, Sally
Wendkos Olds will guide you on
a journey to another world of
exotic beauty and ancient splendor.
and/or Poets: Wednesday,
February 14 at 1:00pm. Arnie Rosenbaum
will share the poetic lyrics of
Ira Gershwin, Alan J. Lerner and
Larry Hart. You decide if the
great lyricists of the 20th century
really were master poets.
Tiffany and Laurelton Hall
An Artists Country Estate: Monday,
March 19 at 1:00pm. Ines Powell,
Metropolitan Museum of Art educator,
will present an illustrated lecture
which will bring together many
of the architectural elements
and design features of Tiffany's
extraordinary country estate in
Thefivetowns.com disclaims any and
all responsibility for any typographical or informational
errors herein. We do not independently verify the
claims of our advertisers and advertisements. We
do not verify information of news, editorials or
any other information placed herein. Please do your
own proper due diligence of the information and
advertisers/advertisements listed herein. Continued
publishing of this newsletter/website is at the
sole and absolute discretion of thefivetowns.com.
We reserve the right to publish and not publish
at will and in our sole and absolute discretion.
We are independent and not affiliated or associated
with any other entity.