At Virginia Seder, A Unique Flavor Of Slavery

Historic university reinforces students’ understanding of Passover theme

04/06/2015 - 20:00
Staff Writer

Williamsburg, Va. — The students at the second-night seder here at the College of William and Mary this week didn’t have to go far for a reminder of slavery, one of the ritual meal’s main themes.

The Wren Building on the campus of William and Mary, which was built by slaves in the 17th century. Wikimedia Commons

All Are Welcome At The Seder

In your mind’s eye, look around at those with whom you have celebrated past Seders. 

A contemplative girl is full of questions: How could a respected family in Egypt so quickly become an enslaved nation? Why was Pharaoh so stubborn?

There’s the "Squirmer." If he doesn’t declare outright that he’d rather not be at the Seder, his body language clearly broadcasts the message.

Seated next to each other are two frustrated guests. One is always losing his place in the Haggadah, and the other’s eyes often stray to the kitchen.

During its recounting of the Exodus from Egypt, the Haggadah “pauses” to consider Seder participants resembling those described above. They are portrayed as four sons: one wise, one wicked, one simple and one who doesn’t know how to ask. 

Rabbi Michael Levy

If Elijah Arrived In A Wheelchair, Could You Welcome Him To Your Seder?

If Elijah had a disability would he be welcomed at your Seder? During Passover we traditionally have a cup of wine at our Seder table for Elijah and we open the door to let him in. Could he get into your home or the place in which you celebrate the Passover holiday? If Elijah used a wheelchair or had other ambulation challenges could he get in?  Would you invite him in if he looked different or sounded unusual when he spoke? Could he participate in the rituals of Passover if he could not read the Haggadah? (For people who do not read or read well there is now an adapted Haggadah.)

Seder2015 Brings Passover Into The Digital Age

03/25/2015 - 20:00

An appreciation for classics and architecture does not necessarily foster interest in the Passover seder.

Participants at one of Michael Hebb’s “test” seders use the resources from (Scott Macklin)

Women’s Voices Rise At Woodstock Seder

Acted-out Haggadah brings Exodus story’s forgotten females to the fore.

03/23/2015 - 20:00
Staff Writer

As a “new Jew,” a recent convert to Judaism, Desiree O’Clair was first exposed to the Passover seder a few years ago, at friends’ holiday tables. She then tried her hand at leading her own seders, and decided, “I have to learn how to do this properly.”

Rabbi Aura Ahuvia, spiritual leader of the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. Courtesy of Miriam’s Well

A Seder In ‘Paradise’

03/23/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

Recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I first came to Bonaire, a Dutch Caribbean island near Curacao, more than 30 years ago. I was treating myself to a vacation where no one knew me and I was far away from the stressful life in the “big city.”

Pour Out Your Love?

This year’s anti-Semitism must have a place at the seder table.

03/23/2015 - 20:00
Special To The Jewish Week

What will Jews do this year?

Passover is a time of joy and freedom, anticipation and redemption. And because we are strong and free, we can afford one pointed flash of anger. After the meal, we traditionally open the door for Elijah and say three biblical verses of vindictiveness that begin “Pour out Your wrath…” Shfokh hamatkha al ha-goyim. We crave justice. We seek revenge. We ask that our enemies get their just desserts for all of the irrational hatred we’ve suffered. We note the spilled venom of centuries that has taken innocent Jewish lives.

Erica Brown

On-Demand Judaism: Observing When It’s Convenient

06/02/2014 - 20:00

Something new to worry about: It began with the conversation with one of my oldest friends, who is a trustee of the Metropolitan Opera.  She noted that ticket sales were down due to the fact that people do not like to commit to subscriptions, which requires them to be in attendance at a performance at a certain time on a certain evening.  She also noted that her cousin, who is a director of the National Theater in London, had told her that all of the performing arts are in trouble because we live today in an on-demand world.

Telling The Passover Story Fully And Powerfully

04/17/2014 - 20:00
Jewish Week Online Columnist

When we think of the challenges of hosting a seder, the physical – the cleaning and cooking – immediately spring to mind. Another challenge is negotiating the tension between the meal’s ritual requirements and the obligation to make the story actually speak to the participants who are there.

Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik
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