A few days ago Dus Iz Nies featured a video clip of Erev Passover preparations as they took place in New York’s Lower East Side in 1932.
It appears to be an old newsreel release from Universal Newspaper Newsreel which was a news distribution company in the pre-television era. These features were shown in local movie theaters, and often ran 7 to 10 minutes in length before the movie (like today’s previews).
This one is titled “Ghetto in Bee-Hive of Activity on Eve of Passover Fete.”
Another version of the same video can be found on YouTube with the original newscast narration. It gives an elementary explanation of the Passover holiday including the customs of drinking four cups of wine and eating only matzah. This was at the tail end of the Prohibition era (1920-1933). The narrator offers an interesting reference to Jews being allowed the four cups of wine at the Seder even with an active 18th Amendment (Prohibition).
That’s why they call it Passover. When every member of the family has to drink four cups of wine by special permission of the 18th Amendment.
Though brief, it gives both an interesting perspective into at what life was like for Jews then, as well as a sample of how American society viewed Jews of the time period.
However you celebrate it this year, have a peaceful, happy, and healthy Passover.