I have a confession to make: I find Passover stressful! Cleaning and kashering: stressful! Grocery shopping for hard-to-find and often wildly expensive items: stressful! Cooking food for large numbers of people using my haphazard collection of Passover kitchen implements: stressful!
And here's the most stressful part of all: the seder! Eye-rolling teenagers! Small children up way past their bedtimes! Relatives whose religious observance or lack of religious observance is a source of tension to other family members! The person who thinks the seder should last for 10 minutes and does not hesitate to share that opinion loudly! The feeling that someone else's family is doing it better!
Does any of this resonate with you?
If so, I share with you that my plan for this year is the following:
"In every generation, a person is obligated to see him or herself as though they have personally left Egypt." (from the haggadah)
This year, I will hold at the center of my observance, from shopping to cleaning, to cooking, to sedering, this key obligation: to see myself as one who has left Egypt.
I am a free person, who has moved from a place of constriction to a place of possibility.
I am part of a people who were enslaved, and who now are free.
I am part of a world where so many people live lives of limitation and strife, and who long for dignity and expansiveness.
I am grateful, I am connected, and I am responsible for the wellbeing of others, even those I will never know.
From this set of intentions, I will grocery shop, kasher, cook, and host. And hopefully, I will be inspired to be more fully present in my own freedom and in the work for the freedom of others.
Rabbi Joanna Samuels
Chief Executive Officer
[IN PERSON] 20s + 30s Passover Scavenger Hunt in Central Park
Sun, Apr 10, 3-6 pm, $10
[IN PERSON] A Musical Tour of the Passover Haggadah for Families
Sun, Apr 10, 4-5 pm, $10
[VIRTUAL] Center for Special Needs Passover Seder
Mon, Apr 11, 7-8:30 pm, $8
[VIRTUAL] Empty Chair at the Seder Table: A Passover Bereavement Program
Tue, Apr 12, 5:30–7 pm, Free
[VIRTUAL] Passover Film Festival
[IN PERSON] Seder Queen 5782: Moses in the City
Fri, Apr 15, 6-8:30 pm, $125
[IN PERSON] 20s + 30s Matzah Pizza Mixer
Tue, Apr 19, 7-9:30 pm, $20
[IN PERSON] Adaptations: Make Your Own Matzah Cover
Tue, Apr 19, 4:30-6 pm, Free
JCC's own Sarah-Kay Lacks talks about Passover food in Martha Stewart's online magazine.
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 2020'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.
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.
Ready to create your own haggadah? Visit our friends at Haggadot.com.
And check out the origin story for an iconic Passover special.
The wonderful Cantor Laura Stein has complied a Queer Haggadah for all to use.
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Passover is a time when we celebrate the freedom of the Jewish people from enslavement. At the JCC, we are certainly celebrating our journey through the red sea of the pandemic, and the freedom on the other side as we come back together in person as a community. We are so grateful to our generous supporters that carried us through the last few years, and we hope you will invest in our future moving forward. We will be strongest when we are together. Please consider a gift today as we continue to celebrate community, connectivity and each other.