tary, andlater its president. If all thiswere notenoughMendes played anactive rolein the wider community, representing theJewish faith on important civicoccasions. Once he delivered the prayer in the opening session of the United States Senate.Conscientious to a fault,Mendes abided by an austeremoral code. He disapproved of such secular temptations as “low'movies' and suspicious dance-halls.” To combat their appeal,he suggested that religiousgroups , all (cont. p. 6)a religious teacher inManchester when the callcame from Shearith Is-rael. An aristocratic-looking man, he had a precisely trimmed beard andmoustache, and was partial tousing a pince-nez. He had “aclear ringing voice of unusuallysympathetic quality, precision of diction, and a rich and poeticvocabulary,” an associate re-called: “Small of stature, he wasyet possessed of a benign dig-nity which emanated fromwithin. Soft-spoken, courteous,fatherly, and tender, he won allhearts.”Shortly after assuming his post at Shearith Israel, Mendesentered New York Universitymedical school. He was gradu-ated in 1884 but decided to de-vote himself exclusively to therabbinate and never practicedmedicine He threw himself intoJewish charitable and benevo-lent causes, helping, for exam- ple, to organize the HebrewCongregation of the Deaf, andfounding a school for handi-capped Jewish children. Helobbied aggressively for Jewishinterests, protesting againstChristian exercises in the publicschool, discriminatory immigra-tion policies, and Sunday lawswhich penalized observant Jewswho would not work on Satur-days. He was an early advocateof Zionism. He was also a foun-der of the New York Board of Jewish Ministers, its first secre-
Hakham Henry Pereira Mendes
enry Pereira Mendes cameto Shearith Israel in 1877 andremained its guiding spirit for more than forty years. Born inBirmingham, England, in 1852,he was educated at UniversityCollege, London, received mostof his instruction in Judaism andHebrew from his father, and was
[The reading on the firstnight] We call Haggadá, whichmeans narrative, the ceremonythat we make during two nights(one nights in the land of Israel),which talks about our Peopleleaving Egypt.The order of our Haggadáfalls on two nights, the 15 and 16of Nissán:We use three plates:One for the
; one for the roasted sheep bone and the hard-boiled egg;and the third one for the kha-rosset, the bitter herb, and thevegetables used within thenarrative.This is the symbology:The
is the Poor’s breador the Bread of Affliction, of our forefathers in Missráim. TheKharóset, made with wine, cin-namon, apples, raisins, almondsor similar, figs, dates, etc, repre-sent the adobes that they wereforced to make. The Marór or Bitter Herbs, are to remember the suffering of slavery, gener-ally made with endives, lettucesor other herbs with bitter flavor,though mild. When we submergethem in [salted] water, it symbol-izes the bitterness and tears [of suffering].The Bone symbolizes thesacrifice made on the Festivalwhile the egg makes reference tothe additional sacrifice calledhagigá.The four cups of wine that onemust drink [represent] the four respective captivities and eman-cipations : Babylonia, Persia,Greece and Rome. The samemust be drunk reclining on theleft side, posture that in antiquitywas only [reserved] for free-men.We use the appropriate winefor kiddush, that is, wine thatHAS NOT been cooked or pas-teurized, normally called ME-BUSHAL .That who does not have wine,they can make [kiddush] withwine made at home with grapes[i.e. grape juice] or bought fromthe store, those which are kasher.Juices without [rabbinical] in-spection cannot be consumed. Nonetheless, it is customary tomake kiddush over the
when there is no wine.We use what is called theshimurím of
, in other words, what specially is used for the two nights of the Haggadá.
We consecrate ourselves and our lives when we have the moral courage tospeak out for what is right and pure, to speak out against what is wrong and impure.” The three R's of Judaism, the rabbi said, were Reverence, Righteous- ness, and Responsibility.
We donot hidethe afi-comen(the pieceof
that is brokenfrom themiddle
), but weonly wrapit up and place itsome-where, soit ca begiven atthe end of the Haggadá.We do not place the cup called
Cos Elyáhu haNabí
or the cup of theProphet Elijah.The first-born [males], be him of father or mother, fast on the eve of the Festival.(cont. p. 6)
In the Works
Interactive teach-ing on the Web.Associate and Fullmembers only.
Bet Oliveira, up-coming new BethaMidrash in Jeru-salem.
Social improvementclasses, by appoint-ment only.
Spanish-Portuguese MinhagimR. Mordekhai de Meir haLeví de Lopes