Perhaps you should use the block letters of the Hebrew alphabet for now. They are a easier to write out, and look more like the printed Hebrew that you see in books. You can always learn the cursive later.
I probably should have, but now I am use to the cursive having written it several times. I counted The Omer today and with the Artscroll Siddur I can read some of the Hebrew without looking at the transliteration--so it's sinking into the gray cells Now if I can figure out how you pronounce a consonant with two vowels.
OK, Mike, I checked in a copy of the compact Sim Shalom (although I think the pagination is the same as for the regular size full Sim Shalom, not the "Slim Shalom" for Shabbat and Festivals only). It was as I suspected: the little vertical line you thought was a vowel is a "meteg" which is a symbol that Sim Shalom uses to show when the stress is not on the last syllable or people tend to put the stress on the wrong syllable for that particular word. See the top of intro page "xxix" for an explanation. Note that the meteg is not a part of Hebrew, but rather is just a visual cue for non-native speakers that this siddur (and others) uses.
So the "meteg" under the mem of "melech" (and to the left of the sh'va vowel) is just showing that the accent is on the first syllable of that word. There is also a meteg under the hey of the fourth word "eloheinu" also to show that the stress is on the second to the last syllable of that word.
I love Hallel. But it was really weird in the week before Pesach to be shopping at my local kosher grocery store where they were playing "Pesach" music and I realized that Hallel was playing. Just too weird to do shopping to liturgical music
Did you go to a seder, Mike?
Chag Pesach Sameach v'Kasher.
Gotta go. Time to put the potatoes into my corned beef. One thing cool about Pesach around here is the availability of foods like kosher corned beef that are not always available.
Thank you Debbie, I also saw that they use a different symbol for a long and short kametz.
No I didn't go to a Seder. I figured, perhaps wrongly, that it would be better for me this year to read and learn and next year I can properly attend a Seder and experience it for the first time, and this also decreases the possibility of upsetting someone who might be irked that a goy would attend.
Simcha: I've seen the trop marks and I find the notation system to be fascinating but in reading or trying to make out the Hebrew words I've been able to ignore them.
Regarding Pesach I do have at least one question. If one is required to get rid of chametz, I've read that flour needs a special mark certifying that it had not gotten wet. I, both presently and last week, have been looking for this flour and can't find it anywhere and the matzot I found wasn't kosher for Passover. So where does one find the flour or matzot?
You will not find 'kosher for passover' FLOUR except for matzo meal and matzo cake 'flour'. You should be able to find kosher for passover matzo, but maybe not at every store - groceries in areas where many Jews live are more likely to carry Passover items than other stores in the same chain, even. At Passover people with compulsion to bake things get matzo meal flour and potato flour.
Matzo meal and matzo ball soup and mix are often kosher for all year and passover also.
You should to to a seder. There is absolutely no issue whatsoever for non-Jews at a seder. Almost every seder is open to all, including non-Jews. Our community seder is frequently about half non-Jews - we WELCOME non-Jews, especially ministers and pastors, so they can learn about 'the real thing' and not get all their seder information from such groups as 'Jews of Jesus' (which send out representatives around the country - one of them even came HERE and this is a very very small place - giving 'Christ in the Passover' seders for church groups....
SOMEBODY has to counter that crap with valid information!
So go, definitely go. There is not a problem with non-Jewish guests - the only place that even might POSSIBLY have objections are so isolated socially, you probably don't even 'know' them at all.
Besides, if you are worried, then simply ask. It is very simple. You say: 'would it be alright if I attended the seder?'
I've seen matzah made by hand by our Orthodox Yemenite friends, supervised by the patriarch of the family who was at one time the chief Sephardic rabbi of a town in Israel. Anyway, it is a special mitzvah to make matzah on the very day that Passover begins in the evening because after about 10am on that day it is not even allowed for a Jew to own chametz. So when the matzah is made, after the matzot are rolled out, even the crumbs and flour that might have gotten damp have to be scraped off and tossed into the oven to bake (and thus not become "chametz") within the 18 minutes.
Here's the thing, Mike: You do not have a kosher for Passover kitchen, so without even worrying about the flour, from the outset it is impossible for you to make kosher for Passover matzah on your own. I don't believe anyone makes matzah during the holiday because the process would certainly make the whole area non-kosher for Passover. When my kids went with their Hebrew school classes to a Chabad place to make their own matzah, the Chabad rabbi was careful to warn them that it was just for instructional purposes and that their matzah was not "kosher for Passover" because the timing and the careful cleaning between rounds to get rid of the crumbs was not enforced rigorously.
I think you're better off eating the matzah that is not technically kosher for Passover. Since you have not yet converted, you do not yet have all the Passover obligations, and your kitchen is not kosher for Passover anyway. The matzah itself will be indistinguishable from kosher for Passover matzah, since only the cleaning of the facilities and details that don't really change the matzah are at issue. (But be sure to buy plain matzah and not "egg matzah" which cannot be used for a seder and which some strictly observant Jews believe can only be eaten by young children or elderly people who need a softer matzah to eat.)
Some very observant Jews think there are issues with non-Jews at a seder ranging from equating the seder with eating the Passover offering (even though there is no Temple, so that seems wrong to me) to saying that it is a problem because food might be cooked on Yom Tov by a Jew for a non-Jew and the cooking allowance on Yom Tov is only because it is necessary for observance of the holiday. But even those people would tend to look for a way to accommodate a prospective convert who clearly needs to learn to celebrate this most important of holidays.
And it is highly unlikely that any of the members of a Conservative shul will feel that way. Many of them will be happy to share their seder with someone like you specifically because you will bring questions which is supposed to be a part of the seder. There are also often large congregational seders too, but I like family seders best and haven't been to one of the big impersonal types for about 20 years now. You might be interested to read my story about inviting guests to a seder: www.jewsbychoice.org/2010/03/18/it-started-with-a-seder/
I really think you must experience a seder to fully understand what it means to be a Jew. It is a commemoration of the beginning of Judaism and is central to Jewish identity. If you look throughout the liturgy for any day or holiday (not just Passover), you will see many references to the Exodus story and the revelation at Sinai. Too late for you this year, but attending a seder should be a number one priority for Pesach next year.
Last Edit: Apr 24, 2011 17:23:45 GMT -5 by Debbie B.
Thank you for the information(this explains why I couldn't find kosher for Passover flour ) I think if I had friends nearby that were Jewish I'd go to their Seder, but I don't but in time. This year it was intellectual-next year it will be the real life experience and it's one I'm looking forward to.