Tuesday, April 1, 2014
In a highly unusual year of the Hebrew calendar that has seen Hanukkah fall at the same time as Thanksgiving and a new word "Thanksgivukkah" created, there falls now yet another bizarre confluence of holidays. Passover begins tonight with the first Seder of the holiday taking place at sundown.
For the first time in six centuries, the initial night of Passover 2014 - the annual retelling of the Hebrews' freedom from bondage in Egypt - falls as one with April Fool's Day.
"Isn't that awesome?!" said Orthodox Rabbi Perry Ben Vereen, head of the prestigious synagogue Temple Beth Ostrosky in Havertown PA. "Passover is one of our most important holidays, but it's almost impossible not to want to screw with it at a time like this!"
Rabbi Ben Vereen says he has a number of "tricks up his sleeve" for this evening, including substituting a large French Bread for matzoh, hiding a rubber chicken for children to find instead of the traditional afikomen, and of course placing whoopie cushions on the seats of all the Seder guests, including Mrs. Ben Vereen.
Many ideas for April Foolsover pranks can be found on the website JewFool 2014, including a host of suggestions for making it appear Elijah the Prophet really has shown up at your house, guzzled the wine left for him, and groped several of the guests.
"This year," laughed Rabbi Ben Vereen, "I'm going to provide the Traditional Four Questions with multiple choice answers and make at least two of the three wrong answers zany! I'm going to pad out the original ten plagues like water turning to blood, boils, and death of the first born with new ones like watching Tracy Morgan's stand-up and having to give an enema to Ted Nugent.
"And finally," Rabbi Ben Vereen added, "I'm going to announce I'm leaving Mrs. Ben Vereen for a blonde shikseh!"
Better have fun tonight, Seder goers, because Passover and April Fool's Day won't fall together again until 2223.
It's actually next year.