The year: 1999. The place: Beth Shalom Congregation, Elkins Park, PA, event hall. The room is full of about 150 elementary school students, sitting around round tables laden with plastic plates, wine cups we made ourselves, all fidgeting in our new Passover clothes. At the front of the room, aloft a podium, is Dr. Steven Brown, our headmaster. And he is wearing the silliest hats we’ve ever seen in our young lives.
For each of the 15 parts of the Passover seder, Dr. Brown changes his hat. We sing “Kadesh, oorchatz, karpas…” and are halted as the eldest students who’ve been to many a Model Seder at the Perelman Jewish Day School know, scream “AHA!” and we stop, to study, and observe the rituals of that part of the seder. So, we dip our celery painstakingly cut by parents into salt water, and resume, as Dr. Brown changes his hat with a [Read more…]