Passover, 2003

April 12, 2003

Source: Los Angeles Times

On April 12, 2003 the Los Angeles Times reported that "Jewish historians are turning back the clock to examine how Passover was celebrated in California and the West in the 19th century... Today, as Jews prepare to observe Passover, which begins Wednesday at sundown, Southern California has the nation's second-largest Jewish population -- roughly 600,000. By contrast, the overwhelmingly Catholic pueblo of Los Angeles of 1854 had fewer than 200 Jewish residents and no kosher bakery or butcher shop... A lay rabbi slaughtered animals, carefully observing rabbinic laws, so that Jews might have kosher meat. The aroma of matzo -- unleavened bread -- wafted from a bakery owned and run by a Catholic... In the hinterlands -- the Gold Country of Northern California or the outlying reaches of Southern California -- men were often the ones who prepared the Passover seder because there were no women around... Despite such accommodations to necessity, historians say a common thread of faith and tradition is woven through the fabric of Jewish history in the West."