A message from Rabbi Brian Fink,
Director, UJA-Federation of New York's Engage Jewish Service Corps

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Dear Friends,

Each year, in the Passover seder, we read the passage:

B'chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et atzmo k'ilu hu yatza mimitzrayim.

In every generation, we are each obligated to see ourselves as if we had personally been in Egypt, (in Hebrew, mitzrayim, meaning the “the narrow place”), and then, went forth to freedom.

This year, we have all most definitely had our share of “narrow places.”

Throughout the pandemic, we have struggled with the plagues of illness, separation, fear, loneliness, and uncertainty. Many of us have experienced unbelievable losses. We have wondered if life will ever get back to normal, and what that “new normal” might possibly look like.

And yet, even while we once again prepare to host seders over Zoom, we acknowledge that things are different from how they were one year ago. Now there is hope. Some of us have been vaccinated. There is a better understanding of how virus transmission takes place. We know what we can do to keep each other safe. And Zoom isn’t all that bad. Our community has persevered and is thriving, stronger than ever before. Liberation is just around the corner.

Passover is traditionally known as z’man cheruteinu, our time of freedom. By re-enacting this journey each year, we remind ourselves that a better reality is always possible—the haggadah being the roadmap showing us the way forward. Whether traditional or creative, the seder helps us highlight the uniqueness of our present moment and seamlessly connect it with our communal story.

Maybe you will choose to add an N95 mask as a symbol of bitterness to your seder plate, next to the maror. Maybe you will elevate your vaccination card along with your glass of wine, as you express joy and gratitude for your personal redemption. Or maybe before dipping the karpas into the bowl of salt water, you will take a moment of silence to recognize the many tears that we have shed throughout this year.

Whatever you choose to do, I hope that Passover will be a holiday of meaning and reflection and will allow us to look forward to a better future.

L’shana habaah b’nei chorin. Next year, may we be free.

Chag sameach,

Rabbi Brian Fink
Director, UJA-Federation of New York's Engage Jewish Service Corps

+ Seders

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+ Seders


Programs + Seders

JCC Programs

Pre-Passover Talk: Refresh Your Knowledge and Prepare for Your 2021 Passover Seder (in Russian)
Thu, Mar 18, 8–9 pm, Pay what you wish

The Third Seder: A Yiddish Passover Celebration
Sun, Mar 21, 2–3:30 pm, Free

(20s + 30s) Potato, Quajado! Where Sephardi Meets Ashkenazi in the Passover Kitchen
Mon, Mar 22, 7–8:15 pm, Free

Falling Back in Love with the Passover Seder
Tue, Mar 23, 2–3 pm, Pay what you wish

Empty Chair at the Seder Table: A Passover Bereavement Program
Tue, Mar 23, 5:30–7 pm, Free

Bukharian Pre-Passover Seder
Tue, Mar 23, 7–8 pm, Pay what you wish

Bubbie's Kitchen: Virtual Passover Cooking for Families
Thu, Mar 25, 4–5 pm, Pay what you wish

Jake Cohen: Jew-ish—Cooking and Conversation with Stephanie Butnick of Tablet's Unorthodox Podcast
Thu, Mar 25, 5–6 pm, Free

The Community Omer Project
Sun, Mar 28–May 16, $36; register by Mar 19

Center for Special Needs Passover Scavenger Hunt!
Tue, Mar 30, 6–7:15 pm, $10

4 Questions? A Passover Show with Ms. Eve
Wed, Mar 31, 5–6 pm, Pay what you wish

There's No Place like Home—Passover Craft Night
Wed, Mar 31, 7–8:30 pm, Free

Virtual Seders

Virtual Seder for Families with School-Age Children
Sun, Mar 28, 4:30–5:30 pm, Free

Virtual Queer Passover Seder
Sun, Mar 28, 7–9 pm, Pay what you wish

Virtual Seder: Make Second Seder Night an Israeli Night
Sun, Mar 28, 8:30–10 pm, Pay what you wish

Social Justice Passover Seder
Thu, Apr 1, 7–8:30 pm, Free

Treats + Resources

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Treats + Resources


Treats + Resources

JCC Guide (PDF)

Looking for a refresher? Here's Passover 101, courtesy of Today.

Ready for a comprehensive Passover site for families, with everything you need from Passover Mad Libs to lunch ideas? Check out the PJ Library Passover hub.

Eager to add some new readings to your seder? Maybe a poem about COVID-19 and exile? Comb through the archives of Ritual Well for all kinds of goodies.

Revisit last year's Saturday Night Seder starring the funniest folks in Hollyweird.

Watch Alison Roman of New York Times Cooking prepare some Passover table winners.

Looking for something driven by social justice? Check out JFREJ's rendition of Let My People Go, featuring nine musicians and over 30 singers, all united in outrage over the spread of COVID-19 among incarcerated New Yorkers.

Or enjoy the new classics: Passover a cappella song parodies here, here, and here.

Not your musical vibe? What about the Israeli Philharmonic playing the Four Questions?

Looking for a Passover skit your whole family can do over Zoom? Try this one at JewBelong.

Searching for Passover coloring pages, word finds, crosswords, and more? We've got you covered!

And check out the origin story for an iconic Passover special.

JCC Haggadah

A Virtual Walkthrough of the Seder

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Passover is an opportunity for us to reflect on the hardships of our people and how we have overcome adversity. We take time to reflect by rejoicing in celebration and supporting those in need. There is no doubt that we are all going through hard times right now and this is the most difficult time the JCC has ever gone through. Help us continue our vital work in these trying times by making a donation to ensure we can be there for our community. The only way for us to get through this is if we all work together.

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