• On Shabbat Hagadol, the Shabbat before Passover, English-speaking residents of Yemin Moshe, Talbiyeh, Rehavia and Sha’arei Hessed and surrounds flock annually after morning services to the Yeshurun synagogue, where Rabbi Ari Berman delivers a philosophical lecture based on certain elements of the festival. The event is cosponsored by the Great Synagogue, whose members may have had a problem in getting to the lecture on time this year. The guest of honor at the Great Synagogue’s service was Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who began his sermon minutes before the event with Berman was due to start. Congregants who left early could use the excuse that they couldn’t hear the chief rabbi, because unlike Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, who spoke in the early evening, he has not mastered the gift of voice projection. Berman doesn’t have that problem and delivered an interesting thesis on the order of importance of the four sons, saying that the odd man out was the wicked son because the other three were judged on their intelligence, whereas the wicked son was judged in accordance with his character.

• For North African Jewish communities, as soon as one festival ends, another begins. Immediately after Passover, North African Jews, primarily those from Morocco, celebrate the Mimouna, which is the ultimate example of hospitality, fraternity and friendship. With the exception of moufletas, Moroccan crepes made with regular flour, all the delicacies, including a variety of nougat candies and meringues, are made during the intermediate days of Passover because they do not contain any forbidden ingredients. Tables are set with symbols of fertility and good fortune. There are many people of Moroccan background in Jerusalem who along with relatives, friends and acquaintances also host total strangers in their homes.

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