Not long ago, we asked a number of Moment subscribers to describe their own Passover experiences. Theodore Bikel, the actor and musician, described his unconventional seder in Las Vegas.
We were in Las Vegas (and had been for five months!), where I was appearing twice nightly at Caesar’s Palace in Fiddler.
The only possible time for our seder was at 2 a.m. We invited 60 people to join with us in a small dining room at the hotel. It was our great determination that despite the surroundings, the bizarre hour, the guests in shtetl costumes and tuxedos—Don Rickles was also there after his show ended—the seder would be totally and faithfully traditional.
We did not reckon with the concept of “big,” “grand,” “lavish” that signifies Las Vegas. We had asked and described the charoset to be prepared and indicated that it was simply ceremonial. The charoset arrived at the table; mounds and mounds of charoset arrived at the table, and continued to arrive. Everyone seated had enough charoset sufficient for a lifetime, sufficient perhaps for the State of Israel. We had enough horseradish to make generations weep. We had enough parsley to enliven the desert. We had matzah balls up to professional requirements for volleyball in tournament play. It was enough, dayenu!
Theodore Bikel, an accomplished actor, concert artist and raconteur, has appeared in Fiddler on the Roof, Zorba, The Inspector General and numerous plays, concerts and television productions.