Religion Newsbriefs for Passover and Holy Week 2013

March 22, 2013 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Grace Church altar set up for Taize service_photo by FNT.JPG
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New Passover Haggadah Introduced; Author and Senior Rabbi Share Strong Bond

Congregation Beth Elohim’s popular Brooklyn By the Book series next focused on the publication and release of a new Passover Hagaddah, whose author has a strong bond with the senior rabbi.

An event this past Thursday featured The Bronfman Hagaddah, and included Passover wine tasting by Slope Cellears, and a sampling of gefilte fish from the Gefilteria.

Rabbi Andy Bachman led the conversation with Edgar M. Bronfman and Jan Aronson about The Bronfman Haggadah, just released from Rizzoli New York. 

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

The Bronfman Haggadah, with Edgar M. Bronfman as author and Jan Aronson as illustrator, is a provocative and stunningly visual retelling of the Passover story. It has been called “a revolutionary Haggadah for the 21st century” for its retelling the story of the Jews’ dramatic journey from slavery to freedom, in a way that will captivate generations to come.

Jan Aronson’s bold and brilliant watercolor paintings heighten the text and amplify a story that is crucial to the Jewish narrative of Identity. These luminous images- both abstract and figurative-artfully illustrate the Seder plate’s symbolic foods, the parting of the Red Sea, the forty-year journey through the desert, the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and other events pivotal to Passover.

Edgar M. Bronfman, 83, has devoted his life to Jewish causes. He founded the Samuel Bronfman Foundation, which supports a wide variety of causes, programs and initiatives including, 92nd Street Y, Hebrew Union College, Interfaith Family, My Jewish Learning, American Jewish World Service, Congregation Beth Elohim and much more.

Rabbi Bachman and Edgar M. Bronfman share a long history and a deep respect for each other. From 1998-2004, Rabbi Bachman was the executive director of the Edgar M. Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life: Hillel at NYU. Their bond should prove to be the foundation for an interesting discussion about the meaning of Passover and issues of Jewish identity and theology.

David Suissa writes in The Jewish Journal, “Bronfman has taken the secular and spiritual values that resonate with the new generation – such as tikkun olam (repairing the world), pluralism, human dignity and social justice – and rooted them proudly in the story of the Jewish people. He’s made the seder night different by appealing to the indifferent. That alone is worthy of Jewish pride.”

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Rabbi Potasnik Speaks at Oratory and Synagogue’s Interfaith Exchange Weekend

Last month, the Brooklyn Eagle’s religion pages announced that Rabbi Joseph Potasnik will be the guest speaker at the Brooklyn Oratory’s Vespers series on Palm Sunday. According to an update in the Oratory’s weekly e-bulletin, Rabbi Potasnik’s talk is part of a larger scholar-in-residence type weekend.

The Brooklyn Oratory, its Adult Faith Formation Committee and Congregation Mount Sinai are participating in a series of collaborative interfaith events. “Spiritual Exchange – Part I” with Rabbi Joseph Potasnik & Congregation Mount Sinai, takes place in conjunction with Holy Week and Passover observances.

Fr. Anthony Andreassi, C.O. will celebrate a Catechetical Mass at the Oratory on Saturday, March 23, during which members of Congregation Mount Sinai will be welcomed as special guests. Fr. Joel Warden, C.O., will offer commentary and explanation during the Mass. A reception will follow in Newman Hall. The next afternoon, Rabbi Potasnik will speak as part of the Oratory’s Lenten Vespers. He will give the final reflection of the Oratory’s 2013 Lenten Season, with the Scripture text from the Hebrew scriptures: Isaiah 28:16.

Part II of the Oratory-Mt. Sinai interfaith exchange will occur after Easter.

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Met Council Donates Passover Food To Jewish Victims of Hurricane Sandy

The Met Council on Jewish Poverty, coming to the aid of communities that are trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy, is delivering more than 2.5 million pounds of Kosher Passover this week food to families in need.

Last Passover, Met Council served 55,000 households – this year, following Hurricane Sandy, the need is even greater.

For communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy, celebrating Passover will be a struggle this year. The eight-day Passover holiday can be expensive even without a natural disaster complicating the lives of Jewish families. Kosher dietary laws prescribed in the Torah mandate the complete cleaning out of homes and removal of certain foods with leavening agents—from flours to vinegars. That is in addition to special, expensive food items such as matzot, gefilte fish and a larger grocery bill to fit in seder guests. Because of financial losses, many families cannot afford to observe Passover fully.

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Joint-Parish Taizé Services Are Among Holy Week Offerings in Brooklyn

A longtime tradition at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church is the Palm Sunday Procession starting at the Montague St. entrance to the Promenade.

The procession commemorates and re-enacts Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, and is named Palm Sunday for the palm fronds that people waved as they worshiped him. Palm Sunday is also the start of the Christian Holy Week.

Parishioners gather at the Promenade at 10:45 a.m. as a crucifer, acolytes and clergy, in liturgical vestments, process towards the church, at Clinton and Montague St.

Although Palm Sunday begins jubilantly, the liturgical mood quickly changes to one of sorrow, as the story of Jesus’ Passion and death are narrated, according to one of the four Gospels.

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St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church is jointly-hosting Holy Week Contemplative Way of the Cross and Taizé services and with Grace Church-Brooklyn Heights. Both are nearby Episcopal parishes in Brooklyn Heights.

The parishes invite the faithful to begin Holy Week by taking a three-day journey with Christ as he makes his way to the cross, through quiet candlelit evening prayer, Taizé chant, and brief Scriptural reflections.

Grace Church (254 Hicks St., between Grace Court & Joralemon St.) will host A Contemplative Way on Monday and Wednesday, March 25 and 27. St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church will host the service on Tuesday, March 26. The service begins at 7 p.m. all three days.

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St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral, founded on March 17, 1851 and the subject of a Brooklyn Eagle article earlier this month upon being named an additional See of the Diocese, will start its Palm Sunday Procession at Grand Army Plaza. The 9 a.m. procession will wind its way to the church in time for 10:30 a.m. Mass.

A bilingual (English-Spanish) Mass will be offered on Holy Thursday, March 28, at 7 p.m. St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral offers the Holy Friday Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion at noon in Spanish and at 3 p.m. in English.

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As the Christian season of Lent emphasizes penitence and renewal of one’s life, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn offers all parishes to take part in a Day of Reconciliation on the Monday of Holy Week.

Each Catholic parish will provide times for individual confessions (the Sacrament of Penance) during the day, and will also host Community Reconciliation Services that evening.

The Brooklyn Oratory at St. Boniface Church in MetroTech offers the Sacrament of Penance (individual confessions) on the Diocesan Day of Reconciliation, March 25, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 3 to 6:30 p.m. A Community Reconciliation Service will also be offered at 7 p.m.

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Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church offers several opportunities for the faithful to contemplate the meaning of Christ’s Passion and death during Holy Week. Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen’s, participating in the diocesan-wide Day of Reconciliation on March 25, will hear individual confessions from 3 to 6 p.m., and from 7:15 p.m. until queue lines are exhausted. The parish reminds Catholics that the Sacrament of Penance is one of mercy and forgiveness, and is an occasion not for fear but rejoicing in the knowledge of God’s love. The church is on Summit St., just east of Hicks St., in Carroll Gardens.

Sacred-Hearts & St. Stephen Church also offers a Communal Anointing of the Sick on Wednesday of Holy Week. Those with any kind of illness or who are elderly are invited to present themselves for this sacrament of healing, at a 7 p.m. liturgy. Msgr. Massie points out in the parish bulletin that this rite is not the same as the sacrament of the dying, which is the Eucharist—the reception of Holy Communion.

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Holy Thursday is celebrated as the Last Supper and the Institution (establishment) of Holy Communion and of the priesthood. Sacred Hearts & St. Stephen’s Church celebrates the Mass of the Last Supper at 8 p.m. Afterwards, there will be two Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament vigils, at 10 p.m. immediately following Mass, and at 11:15 p.m. The Gospel of John, Chapters 14-17, will be read at both vigils. The second vigil concludes at midnight, which is the start of the solemn observance of Good Friday.

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The Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will celebrate the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn’s annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday of Holy Week. The Chrism Mass is the occasion for consecrating the olive oil that is used for the sacraments of anointing, Confirmation and Holy Orders (ordination to the priesthood). The Chrism Mass is also the time when priests of the diocese renew their ordination vows. This liturgy takes place at St. James Cathedral-Basilica on Jay St., starting at 8 p.m.

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Plymouth Church’s Palm Sunday Procession, to which families and children are welcome, begins at the Beecher Garden, starting at 10:45.

Plymouth continues its expression of the ancient Christian tradition, the Agape Feast, with a potluck Lenten supper on Maundy Thursday. Participants will bring an entrée, side dish or dessert to share, plus a bottle of wine for the Communion. Bread will be provided for Communion. Reservations are needed; those wishing to participate should RSVP with Amy Talcott at the Plymouth Church office, 718-624-4743.

Plymouth invites all to experience the Solemnity of Christ’s Seven Last Words on Good Friday (March 29) with a Tenebrae Service (Tenebrae means “shadows”) at 7 p.m. Nursery and childcare will be available beginning at 6:30 for children in Grade 2 and under.

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Zion German (and English) Evangelical Lutheran Church, 125 Henry Street, Brooklyn Heights, 11201 offers special services during Holy Week. On Palm Sunday (March 24) a German-language service is offered at 9:30 a.m. and English-language at 11 a.m. Zion Church observes Maundy Thursday with a Passover meals at 19:00 (7 p.m.). Good Friday services are offered at 11 a.m. in German and an English-language Tenebrae service at 7:30 p.m. Easter service will be bilingual, starting at 9:30 a.m.

For more details please contact Pastor Henning at (718) 852-2453.

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