Entries tagged with “Passover”.

The traditional Passover posting on The Catcher is this time about the Passover movies. There are not too many movies dedicated to the Passover history or even to Passover nowadays, and I am wondering why. The Exodus is one of the fundamental myths of mankind and of the culture some call Judeo-Christian  (I am not crazy about this syntagma, but this is a different subject) – it is about national and religious identity, about slavery and freedom, and the story includes several fascinating characters. I am of course referring to Moses and Ramses, but also to those who gather around the Passover Seder table each year. Yes, that aunt too :-) So, not too many films but a few memorable ones, and at least one in the making which will be added to the list sometime later this year.


source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ten_Commandments_%281923_film%29

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ten_Commandments_%281923_film%29


One of the first notable productions belongs to the era of the silent movies and was produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille in 1923. His first The Ten Commandments included a prologue with the Biblical story and a ‘modern’ story inspired by it. Some of the scenes in the prologue where filmed in Technicolor, one of the first big screen attempts of using this technology.


(video source MoviesHistory)


It is however the second, 1956 version of The Ten Commandments directed by  Cecil B. DeMille that became famous. Its cast included Charlton Heston (Moses), Yul Brynner (Rameses), Anne Baxter (Nefretiri), Edward G. Robinson (Dathan). It was filmed on location in the Sinai Desert, and was nominated to seven Academy Awards, eventually receiving only one. It made it however for perpetual TV programming in the holidays season.


(video source skinnyalley)


You will find a somehow different perspective of the story in Mel Brooks’ History of the World, Part I made in 1981, where Moses is the first of the five characters imagined and played by Brooks in his comical alternate version of the history of mankind.


(video source JB91283)


Passover is not only history but also a yearly reality for Jews who spend that one night of the year remembering (or not) the Bible, reading (or mostly not) the Hagadah, meeting (happily or not) with the family, and eating (yes, this for sure). ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’, one of Woody Allen’s films I love most includes a wonderful Seder scene with the character played by David Landau being in the situation of repenting for some very bad deeds.


(video source Liz Bradley)


Still in the US, still in SederLand, here is an example of TV comedy dealing with the topic: In a segment from the very popular (in the 80s) Anything But Love, Jamie Lee Curtis learns a few things about the Seder traditions.


(video source Paramount Movies)


An animated version of the story was realized in 1998 by Spielberg’s Dreamworks company and released as Prince of Egypt. Ralph Fiennes, Michele Pfeiffer and Steve Martin are among the actors who borrowed their voices to the characters, while Ofra Haza sang the song that won the Academy Award for the Best Original Song. At the Oscar ceremony the song was sung by Whitney Houston and Maria Carey.


(video source Trailer Maker)


The story goes on, and the number of films dedicated to the subject slowly increases. As Bible-inspired movies seem to have been identified by Hollywood as a lucrative business we will have a few of these in 2014, among which a version of Exodus directed by Ridley Scott with Christian Bale as Moses. No trailers with moving images are yet available, but in the meantime you can listen to the music and see a first poster in the clip above.

I hope that you enjoyed this review, and that you will see some good movies (related or not to Passover) during the coming vacation, and also that you will bravely face the Seder and happily survive the week of the matzot. To all:

Hag Sameakh! Happy Passover! Un Pesah Fericit!

For my festive posting on Passover I looked this year at some of the representations of Moses, the great superstar of the event celebrated by the holiday in arts and music.


source http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=2164

source http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=2164


As with many other Bible subjects the representation of Moses is very popular in the manuscripts that predate the invention of printing. Above you can see ‘Moses and the Ark of the Covenant’ represented in tempera colors and silver paint on parchment in an illuminated German manuscript about 1400 – 1410.


source http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=12927

source http://www.artrenewal.org/pages/artwork.php?artworkid=12927


The most famous representation of Moses is probably Michelangelo’s statue on the tomb of pope Julius II the Church of Saint Peter in Chains (San Pietro in Vincoli) in Rome.


source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/


Raffaello Santi (1483-1520) was Michelangelo Buonarroti’s contemporary and rival. His elegant version of Moses Saved from the Water can be admired in the galleries of Palazzi Pontifici in Vatican.


source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/


One of the Baroque painters I like a lot is Guido Reni (1575-1642), a sophisticated follower of Caravaggio. His Moses with the Tables of the Law can be admired at Villa Borghese.


source http://klp.pl/admin-malarstwo/images/r_rembrandt_bol/r_rembrandt_rembrandt132.html

source http://klp.pl/admin-malarstwo/images/r_rembrandt_bol/r_rembrandt_rembrandt132.html


Another famous representation is of Moses Smashing the Tables of the Law by Rembrandt, which can be admired in Berlin, at the Gemäldegalerie.


source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Turner,_Light_and_Colour_%28Goethe%27s_Theory%29.JPG

source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:William_Turner,_Light_and_Colour_%28Goethe%27s_Theory%29.JPG


Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – the Morning after the Deluge – Moses Writing the Book of Genesis is one of the interesting experimental pieces of work of Joseph Mallord William Turner (c.1775–1851). First exposed in 1843,the painting depicts a deluge scene where the natural effects of light and weather (the atmosphere) help Turner not only create almost abstract effects, but also put in colors some of the Goethe’s theory of light and darkness. Moses is only ideally present in the title of the work, as homage to the writer of the Book of Genesis, where the deluge is described.


source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/

source http://onokart.wordpress.com/2010/10/10/moses-ii/


What about this sensual version of ‘The Finding of Moses’ signed by Frederick Goodall (1822-1904)? Goodall was an Orientalist who actually traveled to Egypt by the time of the construction of the Suez Canal, when the fascinating country came back to the attention of the Europeans.


(video source KukMusic)


Switching to music, here is a fragment from the intense oratorio Moses by Max Bruch, interpreted by the  Russian Chamber Philharmonic of St. Petersburg conducted by Jürgen Budday. This is a concert recording from the Maulbronn Monastery, of the performances on June 19th & 20th 2004.


(video source apcarter)


A real gem is the traditional spiritual sang by The Carter Family in 1930 The Rock Where Moses Stood.


(video source PowePuffCandy)


A fine way to end is the gospel ‘Go Down Moses’ in one of the most famous versions with the line Let My People Go sung by Louis Armstrong.


Hag Sameah! A Happy Passover!


source http://sundayfundayatkg.blogspot.com/2011/04/what-is-passover.html


Passover is two days ahead, and it’s time for the traditional collection of clips which welcomes all Jewish holidays on The Catcher. This time it is all about rock music.



(video source AishVideo)


To remember the tradition first comes a Passover Rhapsody which turns the Haggadah into A Jewish Rock Opera.



(video source Thewhatsupband)


The Shlomones or The What’s Up Band are from Connecticut and define themselves as a Jewish American Rock-N-Roll band or sometimes with simple modesty The World’s Greatest Rock Band. Here they are playing I’m Going to a Seder.


(video source einpratfountainheads)


The Fountanheads from Ein Prat, Israel (not to be confused with an Irish band with the same name) are graduates and students of the Ein Prat Academy for Leadership, who work to create new expressions of Israeli-Jewish identity using music and dance, making video clips and appearing live. Here they are singing Breakin’ Free.


(video source Goldentusk)


Last clip is on hip-hop style, somebody complaining (or maybe not) about being a ‘Seder Masochist’ :-)


Hag Sameah, Sarbatori Fericite, A Happy Passover and A Happy Easter to all my friends!

Partea a doua a amintirilor lui Gica Manescu se potriveste cu perioada in care ne aflam si ne prilejuieste o comparatie intre sarbatorirea Pesah-ului acum si atunci.

Eram la cateva zile inainte de Pesah. Pasca, achizitionata din timp, se odihnea intr-un cos din paie, ca o lada mare. Astepta  deschiderea. Rezerva de oua era facuta si ouale linistite erau in camera de langa bucatarie, o camara. Se dadeau jos dintr-un dulap vesela si tacamurile pentri zilele  restepective. Bunica (cred ca era in jur de 65 ani) era ajutata de fica ei cea mica, domnisoara care a terminat scoala si astepta sa ia locul surorii ei mai in varsta ca ajutoare in scriptologia magazinului familiei. Bunicul era patronul unui magazin – atelier de moblia importata din Austria si Germania, dar cu un maestru tapiter lucrau si reparau somiere, cu arcuri foarte bune, rezistente si elastice.

Venea seara de Seder. Masa intinsa si cu un adaus, cu cateva scaune imprumutate, aranjata cu tot dichisul si cele necesare, astepta oaspetii. Nu erau decat membri familiei. La ora indicata – bunicul in capul mesei  si eu la un loc de onoare, in stanga lui. Eram acela care trebuia sa puna intrebarile, scrise in suluri vechi, de vreme indelungata. Le stiam pe din afara, caci profesorul de ebraica s-a straduit sa le stim. Nu citite, ca era mult mai dificil, desi alfabetul ebraic fara vocale era  pentru noi dotat cu puncte si liniute.

Moshe Castel - Passover Seder - source christies.com

Cu vocea clara, putin emotionat la “premiera“, dar fara trac, am intrebat cu ce se deosebeste seara respectiva de celelate. Ca mancam numai pasca, nu sedem  pe scaune,  ci putin rezemati (in teorie) si altele, despre obiceiuri si traditii.

Fac o mica paranteza si relatez ce mi s-a intamplat mie aici, in urma cu vreo 10 ani. Vazusem pe o nota de plata pentru reparatia cazanului colector de apa de pe acoperis – DUD, trei litere DVD. Dupa o vreme am citit ceva si n-am inteles ce legatura avea cu cazanul. Erau acelasi trei litere. Am intrebat pe cineva si mi-a explicat ca e vorba de DAVID.  Se scrie DVD. Ignoranta, nu mult imbunatatita. Ramane intre noi.

Revin. Au venit explicatiile, pe care nu le intelegeam ca si altii dintre oaspeti, dar se stia cum decurge seara. Unchii mei aveau si ei carticelele respective si le frunzareau. S-a cantat dupa ce s-a terminat partea religioasa. Niste cantece mici,traditionale. Povestea unui ied.

A inceput partea principala – mancatul, bautul  spriturilor, putini erau  bautori de vin fara adaus de sifon. Copiii au avut si ei dreptul. Nu s-a cherchelit nimeni. Cu burti pline dupa supa cu galuste, peste, carnea cu garnituri, a venit desertul, care era pacat de refuzat. A urmat  goana catorva dintre cei mai tineri, sa gaseasca pasca ascunsa (aficoman) . Si despartirea cu sarutari si urari de bine.

Dar erau si zile ploioase. Ma jucam cu o verisoara de varsta mea (traieste in Holon, langa familia ei ) cu “Diabolo“ si nu aveam dexteritatea. Nu vazusem inca. Este ca un mosor mare, dar facut ca si cum ar fi doua conuri lipite la varfuri. E dintr-o guma tare si prin mijloc trece o sfoara subtire, lunga si cu manere la capete. Se azvarle in sus si se prinde iar. E foarte greu. Am vazut  mult ma tarziu, pe la spectacole de cabaret, jonglerii. Sau ne asezam la masa, la o partida de domino, fara o judecata, ci la potrivit punctele negre. Sau tintar cu boabe de fasole albe si negre,”spanzuratoarea“ joc de complectat cuvinte, “Popa prostul“ cu carti de joc, sau mai citeam din “Dimineata copiiilor”, pataniie lui Haplea si Frosa.  Cum vremea era in  general frumoasa m-am incumetat si mama a fost de acord sa ies pe strada.

Trei Ierarhi - sursa ceasuripentruromania.ro

Drumul era usor, fara pericole. Ieseam imediat la dreapta, treceam pe langa  gradina Teatrului idish –“La pomul verde”, intram in  scuarul din fata Teatrului National, admiram statuia lui Vasile Alecsandri (nu stiam inca de el ) si cu un betisor invarteam un cerc de lemn in  toate directiie. Fugeam dupa el.  Alte ori mergeam la stanga dupa iesirea din bolta, ajungeam in cativa pasi in strada Stefan cel Mare, pe  acelasi trotuar treceam pe langa cladirea impozanta a “Corpului 5 de armata“ ( nu stiam ce e aia si unchi mi-a explicat in cuvinte putine, sa prind esentialul. Nu ma interesa). Vedeam peste drum Mitropolia in care nu intram. De frica? De rusine? Ce sa fac acolo?  Mai incolo, ma opream si vis-a-vis este Biserica Trei Ierarhi, cu ziduri exterioare deosebite. Dar pasii ma duceau la Palatul de Justitie . In piateta mare si la mijloc troneaza impozanta, statuie ecvestra a lui Stefan cel Mare. Tot nu auzisem de el si am primit cateva informatii simple. Daca se intampla sa merg invers pe strada principala, pana in strada Cuza-Voda, ajungeam in “Piata Unirii“, in fata Hotelului Traian, statuia inalta a lui Alexandru Ioan  Cuza.

statuia lui Cuza Voda din Iasi - sursa ro.wikipedia.org

De el stiam cate ceva. Bunicul meu din Focsani, imi povestise intamplari din timpul Unirii si a aceluia care a fost Domnitorul celor doua Principate romane. La Focsani, in Piata Unirii, este un monument in amintirea evenimetului din 1859. Aici s-a cantat si imnul respectiv in timpul dansului horei de infratire.

Mai aveam, o curiozitate. Stiam ca mama invatase la scoala maicilor  catolice “Notre Dame de Sion“ si intr-o zi ne-am dus intr-acolo sa privim  pe din afara. Traversand strada  Cuza Voda, la o incrucisare o statuie impozanta a unui barbat in picioare. Citesc : Miron Costin.

statuia lui Miron Costin din Iasi - sursa okazii.ro

Nu stiam cine este si nici mama nu mi-a putut explica exact. Stia ca e cineva care parca era cronicar. Ne-am limltat la atata. Nu voiam sa stiu ce este un cronicar si ce face. Peste drum era deja scoala. Ziduri inalte ca nu se putea vedea nimic in interior . Am mers de-a lungul ei spre strada Ion Bratianu, am vazut intrarea cu o usa frumoasa si ne-am oprit cateva minute, mama gandind ca poate va iesi una din  maicile inca din  timpul ei, de peste 15 ani. N–a fost sa fie.

Institutul Notre Dame de Sion Iasi - sursa ziaruldeiasi.ro

Ma opresc aici. Cum se apropie sarbatoarea de Pesah, e bine venita, cred eu, relatarea, cum era acum peste 85 ani, cum era si ce se facea, intr-o casa a  unor evrei traditionalisti, de conditii materiale si sociale bune.

Dar ideile nu s-au terminat si amintirile revin in memorie. Daca aveti  rabdare  si dorinta, cum s-a scris, veti mai putea citi.


Here are a few photos taken last night at our Seder celebration. I hope that you will enjoy them.

Hag Sameah!

This is the Seder table before the action started.

This is the traditional Passover dish. It’s translated in English, so that we know what to put on the plate as ‘maror’ or ‘carpas’ :-)

That’s me saying my prefered prayer – the one that reads ‘Blessed be You our God, King of the World, Creator of the Grapewine!’ Liliana watches me to make no mistakes.

Did I tell you that Liliana makes the best gefilte fish in the Middle East?

This is how our roasted chicken tray looked when we took it out of the oven.

Nu poate fi o ocazie mai buna decat ajunul sarbatorii de Pesah pentru a gazdui o noua contributie a proetenului meu dr. Gica Manescu cu amintiri despre calendar si sarbatori.


Am tinut seama de calendarul obisnuit (nu judaic) si am trecut prin mintea si memoria mea, acele sarbatori, evenimente care mi s-au parut mai importante, unele mai vesele, altele mai rascolitoare. Istorie, minuni, noroc, ce au insotit neamul nostru in decursul celor cateva mii de ani ce ne sunt in spate., Le-am presarat unele, cu amimtiri, intamplari deosebite, la care am luat parte sau am fost martor ocular.

source - www.babble.com

Desi sunt um om batran, ma bucur de o memorie, unii imi spun ca e iesita din comun, prin care parca retraiesc zilele si faptele petrecute, acolo, cu multe zeci de ani, in viata mea, focseneana, copil fiind si chiar adult. Daca as putea, as fi voit sa ma adresez  Prof. Eric Kandel, evreu ,nascut  in Austria , supravietuitor al nazismului, si traitor in USA. Este Laureat al Prmiului Nobel pentru medicina din 2000, pentru studiile sale despre si asupra memoriei (am scris candva) .        .
Anul calendaristic, are cam prin februarie, sarbatoarea vesela de Purim. Ne bucurm de  grija si framantarile  reginei Ester,evreica salvatoare a poporul ei de un Hitler al antichitatii. In cinstea si memoria ei, se da citire povestirii Meghilat Ester. La auzul numelui de Haman,- vizirul anrisemit – se fac zgomote : batai cu picioarele sau cu morisca, -”gragarul ” (nu stiu un cuvant romanesc).  Unii, se costumeaza si in Romania, se mascau, si intrau, necunoscuti, fara glas,in casele unde se petrecea,

source www.johnpratt.com

Dupa o luna,suntem, ca acum, cu toti evreii din lume, in zilele de a sarbatori Pesach. ( Anul asta este mai devreme) .Sarbatoare frumoasa, si ca istorie si ca evenimet. Se termina perioada de sclavie a poporului nostru, in Egipt. Moise, un om intelept, cu vointa,  putere de convingere si credinta, a reusit, sa scoata poporul si sa-l duca, timp de 40 ani, spre  Tzara Fagaduintii. Ne-a dat Tablele Legii, cele 10 porunci, venite de la Puterea divina, ca baza a conduitei si regulilor de viata, valabile si azi .
Eram in clasa I – a primara, a Scolii Comunitatii evreesti  si cum ne apropiam de finele anului scolar, stiam deja , dupa cum ne invatase melamedul (dascalul) nostru, domnul Goldstein, alef – bet si mai mult, doua rugaciuni  (una era Mode ani ) si despre  sarbatorile noastre, cu obiceiurile lor. Ce mandru am fost, cand in seara de Seder, am sezut la masa intinsa pentru toata familia, la stanga bunicului, din capul mesei. Erau toate pregatite cu grije, si el incepea ritualul. Asreptam cu nerabdare, momentul cand voi primi semnul de a pune cele 4 intrebari – Ma nishtana..-. cu ce se deosebeste seara aceia de alte seri.Le stiam pe din afara. Tot  cu nerabdare asteptam sfarsitul si servitul bucatelor delicioase. Ii spuneam totdeauna mamei, o gospodina foarte priceputa, ca supa de pasare, ca la bunica, nicaeri n-o mananc. Priveam  sa vad daca se goleste paharul cu vin, pregtit pentru profetul Eliahu  si apoi,fuga, de a gasi, pasca ascunsa.Cum orasul Focsani, avea o garnizoana militara mare (o Divizie), erau si  militari evrei, din alte regiuni. Ei se adunau la sinagogi,  in serile sarbtorilor deosebite si plecau cu cate un enorias, pentru cina festiva. La noi, locul lui, era in dreapta bunicului. Deoarece  aveam senzatia ca am fi mai flamanzi, mereu rontaiam cate ceva: pasca cu unt si sare,oua tari, din oala de tuci din bucatarie, cu sare si pasca. In familia mea nu se manca paine, se mergea la Templu, La generatia mea, religia nu mai are loc de frunte. Noi mancam painea, numai din freezer, si pasca, ca o delicatesa , in cafeaua cu lapte sau in forma de chiftele ( latchis). Este si placere si traditie.

Dupa 7 saptamani, avem Savuot. Ma bucuram, nu numai eu, cu coltunasii si papanasii cu branza si placinta cu branza dulce, presata cu zahar pudra. Unii copii, umpleau sticle cu apa si se stropeau intre ei. Nu mi-a placut ” distractia “..

Sarbatorile, numite ” de toamna ” sunt cele mai importante. Anul nou judaic – Rosh Hashana si Iom Kipur, ziua pocaintei si a iertarii pacatelor. Zi de post, rugaciuni si resemnare. Majoritatea evreilor, chiar nereligiosi, merg in aceasta zi ,la o sinagoga, in amintirea celor dragi, plecati in alta lume. Cum bunicul meu (si cu toti urmasii de sex masculin) au facut sau mai fac parte din categoria ” de elita ” a etniei noastre, a  ” Cohanimilor “, sedea toata ziua la amvon,  in Templul  Coral,unde era si administrator (Gabai), fara incaltaminte, invelit in talit voluminos: ( shalul de rugaciune ). Tzinea sa ma vada, in preajma lui. Mie imi ardea de a fi cu prietenii. Cand se apropia ora binecuvantarii poporului, pe care o facea el, apaream, El ma vedea, zambea si scurt timp dupa aceia, cu capul acoperit si cu ambele maini cu degetele rasfirate in doua litere V, rostea rugaciunea . Erau momente de tacere totala si de smerenie. Eram achitat de datorie. Cand cineva anuntza spre seara ca a aparut prima stea pe cer, se sufla in shofar si  cu ” a ghit yur “- un an bun-ne intorceam acasa. Pe masa visinata ( beam jumatate de paharel ) si rachiu (doar un unchi al  meu, era amator de un “bronfn “ ). Pe doua tablete, felii din doua cake-uri – un “leikekh “.galben si pufos  si o “turta din miere ” Eram sfatuiti sa nu ne indopam si sa  asteptam masa, cu bunatati diferite si gustoase.

Urma Sucot, cad unii isi faceau cabane de scanduri, acoperite cu frunzis si petreceau ore bune, in ele. Mancand, rugandu-se, s.a. Nu am tinut la datina asta. Nu numai eu. Nici ai mei. Bunicii nu aveau loc si la noi, nici nu era vorba, Ultima zi – Simhat Tora – Bucuria Torei, spre seara, la Templu, se scoteau sulurile sfinte, se imparteau unor enoriasi, si in sir indian, se trecea printre randuri, cu urari de bine si noroc.  Cand aveam vreo 4 - 5 ani,ma cocotzam in bratele bunicului, care deschidea sirul   El tinea cu o mana un sul ,iar cu cealalta pe mine, caruia   in daduse o Tora mica, pe care o strangeam, langa piept, sa nu-mi scape. Primeam urari de bine si le returnam multimii.

Anul se incheia cu Hanuca – Sarbatoarea luminilor. Victoria Macabeilor asupra grecilor, baricadandu-se in Templu, pentru lupta si rezistenta. Opaitul aprins a durat 7 zile Desi cu ulei pentru o zi, a dat lumina o saptamana..Minunea de Hanuka.. Bunicul aprindea lumanarele in toate serile,adaugand cate una. Daca ma aflam la ei, ma lua in bratze si cu atentie, tinandu-mi bratul cu lumanarica de aprindere, aplecam flacara  spre lumanarea noua Rugaciunea o spunea batranul .Ma delectam cu gogosi si cum venea si Craciunul, era bucuria de iarna, in alte moduri

Mai sunt  cateva sarbatori , Lag b` Omer, Ziua recoltei (mancam  fructe mediteraniene : portocale, roscove,  smochine, curmale, stafide ), Postul de 9 Av (distrugerea Templului ) ai altele cu importanta minora pentru mine, si nici nu le stiu pe toate si insemnatatea lor.

source - blog.newsok.com

A few Passover Songs in the eve of  the holiday of freedom of the Jewish people.

Hava Alberstein’s version of Chad Gadya is one of the most beautiful I have ever heard.


Here is another version written by a famous chazan named Moshe Oysher.

(video by bluesdance)

… and an explanation of the song by rabbi Jonathan Ginsburg which is so fit to the symbolics of the song for the holiday and the history of the Jewish people.

(video by rjhiggins)

Passover songs into the hip-hop era sound like this – here a rap version of the story of Moses.

(video by 12tribefilmsfoundatn)

And to end with – Dayenu at the Passover celebration  in Kibbutz Naan.

(video by UntroubledSpirit)

Hag Sameah, A Happy Passover to all!