A message from Rabbi Abigail Treu,
Director, the Center for Jewish Living and the David H. Sonabend Center for Israel

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Dear JCC Community,

Passover is the call to freedom.

Passover is the ultimate holiday of optimism and hope. No matter how low you feel, no matter how badly afflicted, no matter how afraid, hope will find you. Our ancestors went from slavery to freedom, and so will we.

In every generation, every year, no matter where, no matter what the circumstances, the Jewish people recount the story of hope and resilience which is the story of our people.

For the faithful, the Passover message is a religious one: There is a God of goodness who will ultimately answer our prayers. We may not understand why things are unfolding as they are, but faith is about trusting the unfolding and knowing it is headed to a good place of liberation and spiritual freedom.

For the traditionalist, the Passover message is one of forbearance. Generation after generation has endured; the Jewish people have seen times worse than these. It is therefore our duty to recount the story that has kept our people going for thousands of years. The story itself begins with affliction and ends with redemption. Reciting it changes us. Life will go on and all will be okay.

For those who can't imagine Passover this year, when social distancing to keep us healthy outweighs the urge to gather: This is the universe inviting us to try something new. Disruption creates opportunity. After all, the Four Questions—now a rote part of the seder ritual—was once an innovation. The karpas, that vegetable we dip into saltwater at the beginning of the seder, was designed to shake up what had become a boring night by doing something new. This is our chance to shake things up in ways that may actually outlast this one year’s need for reinvention.

And for those who don't know how to ask, where to begin, what to do now: Well, I suppose that's all of us, isn't it? We have never done Passover during a 21st-century pandemic. But Passover has been celebrated in the Warsaw Ghetto and in Auschwitz. It has been celebrated by Jews hiding from 20th-century Soviet oppression and 15th-century Inquisition. It has been celebrated by Jews living isolated from other Jewish families in far–flung cities across the globe, in our generation and for thousands of years. It has been celebrated by individual Jews living in isolation for all sorts of reasons across the arc of time and space. Passover will be different this year—and we are up to the task. As a people, we have lots of practice.

Together we are part of something massive. We are part of a tradition stretching back thousands of years. A tradition of innovation, of resilience, of creativity, of constant renewal, of positivity, of hope. In the words of the haggadah: “Now we are still oppressed. Next year may we all be free.”

I feel deeply blessed to celebrate Passover with all of you this year. Let’s make it a holiday of joy.

Chag sameach,

Rabbi Abigail Treu
Director, the Center for Jewish Living and the David H. Sonabend Center for Israel

+ Seders

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+ Seders

Programs + Seders

JCC Programs

The Science of Happiness: Passover Edition Featuring Tal Ben-Shahar
in conversation with Rabbi Abigail Treu

Tue, Apr 7, 7–8:30 pm

Virtual Seders

Virtual Seder for Families with School-Age Children
Wed, Apr 8, 4:30–5:30 pm

Out at the J Queer Passover Seder
Thu, Apr 9, 7–9 pm

Virtual Seder: LeShanah Habaha Be'Yerushaliym
Thu, Apr 9, 8:30–10 pm

60+ and Engage Community Passover Seder
Mon, Apr 13, 5–6:30 pm

Other Programs and Resources

The JCC is proud to present A Guide to Passover that will help you with all of your Passover needs. From virtual and pre-recorded seders to haggadot to food resources to how to's, we have you covered across the board.

Explore Passover

In the interesting article, "Celebrating Passover Around the World", read about Passover traditions from Jews in different communities around the world.

The JDC ReOrdered Global Passover Toolkit helps you bring customs, recipes and more from eight communities — including India, Greece, and Ethiopia — to your virtual Seder table

What Matters Passover Haggadah Companion: In this companion piece to the Passover haggadah, we include three beautiful writings, followed by thoughtful questions for personal and communal reflection, from three rabbis who weave together several themes of Pesach, What Matters, and Jewish texts and traditions. Each of them may be viewed through the lens of the current circumstances in which we find ourselves, yearning for meaning in these uncertain times.

The Third Seder: An Online International Yiddish Cultural Celebration
Sun, Apr 12, 2 pm, Free

Find a Seder, Host a Seder Guest

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Find / Host a Seder

Find a Seder, Host a Seder Guest

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. The tradition of giving charity to help those who cannot afford to celebrate the holiday, as well as supporting those in need generally, is an important component of the holiday celebration. There is no doubt that we are going through hard times right now. The JCC remains a strong and adhesive community, allowing us to continue to be together in new, innovative, and safe ways and providing support for those who need it during this difficult time. Help the JCC to 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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