Friday, April 18, 2014

Barbara Lazaroff's Spago held the 30th Annual Seder Dinner at Spago in Beverly Hills

Sign at the entrance of Spago, April 15th
 Barbara Lazaroff's Spago held the 30th Annual Seder Dinner at Spago in Beverly Hills.
Photos & story by Karen Ostlund
Beverly Hills, CA – April 15th, the second night of Passover,  Barbara Lazaroff held the Spago 30th annual Seder dinner at Spago Beverly Hills. 
100% of the profit from the Seder dinner benefited MAZON, “a Jewish response to hunger”.
The dinner was officiated by Rabbi Arnold Rachlis and Cantor Ruti Briar- University Synagogue.

The Westside Children’s Choir performed fresh from their appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

left, Melissa Manchester with host Barbara Lazaroff
 Lazaroff said "I began the tradition at the original Spago Hollywood as a means to bring the Jewish community together on the festive holiday, as well as those of different faiths. I believe that if we all share our traditions, myths are dispelled and communication is sparked. This leads to better understanding and tolerance for all cultures. Also, there is such a profound need in Los Angeles, so many go hungry every day, elders miss many meals and children who go to school unable to concentrate because they are hungry. This event has become a warm and delicious tradition at Spago Beverly Hills, those who attend love the Spago cuisine and their go home package of oven baked matzah’s and macaroons.
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis and Cantor Ruti Briar
“About 40% of those that attend are not Jewish and some experience their very first Seder at this event, where they get a sophisticated introduction to Jewish Cuisine."
Over the years, stars like Oscar Winner Rita Moreno, Lainie Kazan, Melissa Manchester, Studio & Network heads, Entertainment Industry Leaders, have attended this memorable dinner.

 Spago restaurant is located at 176 North Canon Drive in Beverly Hills.
 The Westside Children’s Choir performed as an opening act


         History behind the Passover Seder dinner:
The rituals and symbolic foods evoke the twin themes of the evening: slavery and freedom.
The rendering of time for the Hebrews was that a day began at sunset and ended at sunset.
Historically, at the beginning of the 15th of Nisan in Ancient Egypt, the Jewish people were enslaved to Pharaoh. After the tenth plague struck Egypt at midnight, killing all the first-born sons from the first-born of Pharaoh to the first-born of the lowest Egyptian to all the first-born of the livestock in the land (Exodus 12:29), Pharaoh let the Hebrew nation go, effectively making them free people for the second half of the night.
  The Symbolic Seder plate as appetizers
 The Passover Seder plate (ke'ara) is a special plate containing six symbolic foods used during the Passover Seder. The plate was served as appetizers at Spago Seder dinner, followed by the crispy flat bread (matzos) and the classic matzo ball soup with chicken broth. The main course was a combination of salmon and steak plate.
  Each of the six items arranged on the Passover Seder plate have special significance to the retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The seventh symbolic item used during the meal—a stack of three matzot—is placed on its own plate on the Seder table.

The six items on the Symbolic Seder plate: Maror and Chazeret: Two types of bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Ancient Egypt. For maror, many people use freshly grated horseradish or whole horseradish root. Chazeret is typically romaine lettuce, whose roots are bitter-tasting. Either the horseradish or romaine lettuce are eaten in fulfillment of the mitzvah of eating bitter herbs during the Seder.
C t: A sweet, brown, pebbly paste of fruits and nuts, representing the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt.
Karpas: A vegetable other than bitter herbs, usually parsley but sometimes something such as celery or cooked potato, which is dipped into salt water (Ashkenazi custom), vinegar (Sephardi custom), or charoset (older custom, still common amongst Yemenite Jews) at the beginning of the Seder.
Zeroa: A roasted lamb or goat bone, symbolizing the korban Pesach (Pesach sacrifice), which was a lamb offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and was then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night.
Beitzah: A hard-boiled egg, symbolizing the korban chagigah (festival sacrifice) that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and was then eaten as part of the meal on Seder night.
 Crowd at the Spago Seder dinner

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