April 17, 2008
Israelis build new traditions at L.A. seders
(Page 2 - Previous Page)"We all get fresh green onions and hit each other on the shoulder with it, in the memory of the suffering of our people in Egypt," he said.
The small flicks of the green onions (some use celery sticks) quickly turn into gleeful matches, with all the guests snapping at one another as hard as they can. All in good spirit, of course.
Nazarian insists on reading the haggadah to the end, and each guest is invited to read a portion.
"We read the haggadah in Hebrew and in English, so everybody will understand," Nazarian said. "Passover is very important for us, because we want our children to know about Jewish history and what their ancestors had to go through in order to be free."
The Millo seders were always grand affairs. Gilad Millo, Los Angeles' Israel consul for media and public affairs, is the son of a diplomat father who took the family with him around the world, to wherever he was stationed as an ambassador. Seders were celebrated at the ambassador's residence, with all the embassy envoys and leaders of the community in attendance. The events drew as many as 100 guests.
"My father was stationed in Germany the year I was born, so I don't remember much about those Passovers, but I remember many others in different parts of the world," he said. "I remember Passovers in London, were my father was stationed in 1976. There were always many guests from the embassy and the Jewish community. We always went on a trip after each seder. It was our family tradition, which I still keep."
His father's work took the family to New York, Turkey and Italy.
"For me, Passover always has a connection to the embassy, because I mostly celebrated Passover there," he said. "There were times however, when we celebrated with my family in Israel. My parents had to stay behind because of my father's work. It was great seeing all the family together after being away for so long. I remember those Passovers very fondly."
Today, Millo is leading much the same life his father once did. In the past three years he has served in Los Angeles, and prior to that he was stationed for two years in Kenya with his family.
"My children are living my own childhood," he said.
This year, they will celebrate their last Passover in Los Angeles before returning to Israel. "Our whole family and friends from Israel are planning to come and celebrate with us in Los Angeles. They know it's their last chance to visit us here before we go back."
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