In April 1981, posters went up all over Ramona inviting the community to a Passover Seder. It was being hosted by two couples, Sandy and Fred Arsham and Marcia and Al Wollner, who had no idea how many people to expect, because no one knew how many Jewish families there were in the area.
To their surprise, over 60 people flocked to the potluck celebration. Cantor Al Wollner conducted that first service. The people who attended formed the nucleus of a new Reform Jewish congregation, which they named Etz Chaim (Tree of Life) and whose monthly Sabbath services were held in the sanctuary of St. Mary’s in the Valley Episcopal Church.
This year, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 4, Congregation Etz Chaim will again hold a potluck Seder, this time in the Rotunda of San Diego Country Estates. It is still difficult to estimate how many people to expect, because the numbers of Jewish families in the community is still an unknown quantity. But what is known is that 28 years later, Cantor Al Wollner will again be assisting in conducting the Seder, at the side of Rabbi Ben Leinow, the congregation’s present rabbi.
Everyone who wishes to participate in the celebration of the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt, as described in the Book of Exodus, is welcome to attend. Call 789-7393, because reservations are required. A fee of $7.50 per adult and $4.50 per child is charged to cover costs.
For more information, call 789-7393.