Paula and Randy Salky raise their glasses while leading the Passover Seder on Tuesday at The Steamboat Grand.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Paula and Randy Salky raise their glasses while leading the Passover Seder on Tuesday at The Steamboat Grand.

Steamboat Springs' extended Jewish family celebrates Passover Seder

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Families gather at The Steamboat Grand on Tuesday for the Passover Seder.

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Children sing during the Passover Seder event held Tuesday at The Steamboat Grand.

— The Steamboat Springs Jewish community was a lot larger Tuesday night as residents and visitors on ski vacations came together for the Passover Seder.

With Passover falling during ski season this year, word spread about the dinner being hosted by the Steamboat Jewish congregation Har Mishpacha, which means mountain family. The group is composed of about 60 local families, and about 180 people showed up for the sold-out dinner held in The Steamboat Grand Priest Creek Ballroom.

“This is the largest one we’ve ever had,” Har Mishpacha board member Stacy Most said.

During the Seder, Jews throughout the world tell the story of the enslaved Israelites being freed in ancient Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. The ritual involves a meal with traditional ingredients that signify aspects of the exodus from Egypt, where the Israelites were enslaved by the pharaohs. For example, the hard, flat cracker called matzo represents the bread the Israelites made by cooking dough on rocks in the desert.

“The whole night is about remembrance,” Har Mishpacha member Cindy Ruzicka said.

A traditional Seder can be hours long, but the Steamboat group used a book called "30-minute Seder" as its script. The Steamboat group also decided to give the night an Olympic theme to represent Steamboat and the Olympians it has produced.

The event was emceed by Steamboat residents Paula and Randy Salky.

“Passover has always been a time when the family gets together and you tell the story of the Jews leaving Egypt,” Paula Salky said.

The family was quite large this year. Salky guessed half of the people at the Seder were in Steamboat on vacation. She said concierges were told about the event, and many people found about it on the Har Mishpacha website.

The families came from across the United States, and they made family crests to fly at their tables.

New York City resident Hank Jasen was visiting Steamboat for the first time with his wife, Terri, his daughter and son-in-law, and three grandchildren. His granddaughter Maya Desai participated in one of several games that were played during the night by children. Maya won the gold matzo medal for successfully naming the 10 plagues inflicted on Egypt. According to the Book of Exodus, the death of the firstborn plague led to the freeing of the Israelites.

Jasen was proud of his granddaughter as she represented the family during the Seder.

“That’s what it means to me,” Jasen said. “It’s passing the tradition down to the next generation.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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