TORONTO — Don’t let the concrete, factory-like structure fool you. Or the setting – Downsview Park, in the wilds of what used to be the Downsview Air Force Base.
Once inside the building, you encounter The Exodus Experience, a multi-sensory tour of the story of Pesach. Under the auspices of Tzivos HaShem, the youth arm of the worldwide Lubavitch movement, the program has been shown around the world, from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles, South Africa, Montreal (eight years ago) and many places in the United States.
Rabbi Yonah Vilenkin, who has headed Toronto’s Tzivos HaShem since 2003, said that participants go through in groups, rather than individually, and he recommended that people reserve ahead,
The second part of The Exodus Experience is Chabad’s popular annual model matzah bakery.
Last week, students from the Zareinu Educational Centre, a school that provides special education and individualized therapies for children who have physical and developmental challenges, and a group of seniors took The Exodus Experience tour. They enjoyed the impressive sound effects, the sight of a Jewish slave bemoaning his sorry state in front of the pyramids, the dramatic lights flashing, the plague of frogs – including ones coming down from the ceiling – and pharaoh’s advisers going through the lists of Egyptian gods to the ABC song from Sesame Street.
Going from room to room, you walk through sand, straw and stones. As we passed through the divided Red Sea, we saw goldfish swimming through walls of water. The shrill blast of a shofar punctuated the giving of the Torah.
The smiles, giggles and laughs of the audience during the tour showed everyone had a good time.
The entire program, including the tour and the matzah factory, takes about two hours. It runs from March 12 to 31. The cost is $12, and group discounts are offered.
For show times or reservations, call Rabbi Vilenkin at 416-661-0650.