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Second Night Pesach Community Seder
March 28 @ 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
As the full moon of the second night of Pesach rises in the sky, we will gather by the glow of our computers to see each others’ faces and journey together from slavery to freedom. We’ll delve into the personal and collective meanings of constriction and oppression, and explore ways to build liberation in our hearts, homes and in the world.
Part 1: 5 – 7 PM
Break/Pause for dinner between 7 – 8:30 PM
Part 2: 8:30 PM
We will begin at 5PM for ritual, song and exploration together until 7PM. Then we’ll pause for folks to eat dinner. *It will also be an option to stay on Zoom and eat dinner in the company of others. For those who would like to rejoin the group at 8:30PM, we will conclude the Seder with a whole lot of singing and further discussion! Feel free to join in or jump off the call as you need to. Get out of your pajamas and put on something spring-like and celebratory!
Learning and Creativity
To make the Seder more meaningful, choose a section of the Haggadah that you’re curious about, have never really understood, or want to bring your creativity to, and do some exploration in the time leading up to the Seder. Connect it to contemporary struggles and questions. Create a new ritual object. Make a collage, a spoken word piece, or a song. It would be wonderful to share some of these at our community Seder!
Websites with learning resources and ideas
- My Jewish Learning (includes learning for all levels )
- A wide range of Haggadot (including feminist, children-oriented, Hasidic teachings and humour): haggadot.com or opensiddur.org (type haggadah in the search)
- HIAS Haggadah – focused on the global refugee crisis
- Practice singing Mah Nishtana with Avi
*If you would like to share a teaching or creative work, please let Rabbi Miriam know – firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to the ritual items below, please have at the ready:
1) Paper and markers or pens
2) A sign of spring
3) An object in some way connected to hearing the cry of constriction or oppression (inner or outer, personal or political/social) AND/OR an object in some way connected to liberation (inner or outer, personal or political/social)
Below is some helpful info to help you prepare for Pesach and gather the ritual objects and foods for the Seder.
Where can I get Pesach foods?
If you are in the East End, you can place an order for dry goods (eg. matzah, matzah meal, etc.) with Chabad Beaches for pick up. If you are unable to pick up food, Chabad might be able to deliver. If they can’t, please let our Chesed Caring Committee know and we will arrange for a DJC volunteer to deliver your order. If you are looking to order prepared foods for Pesach, one option is Toronto Kosher on Bathurst. They are not taking advance orders but their menu is online here.
Things to prepare for the Seder ahead of time (and some creative alternatives!):
1) Seder Plate including:
- Zro’a/shank bone – a reminder of the sacrificial Pascal lamb and God’s “outstretched arm” freeing the Israelites – use a slightly charred chicken bone, meat bone or roasted “sacrificial beet” (It’s not eaten but it is part of the Seder)
- Beytzah/Egg – use a hard boiled egg – a reminder of the Chagigah/holyday offering in the times of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem and a symbol of life
- Karpas/green herb – the taste of spring – use parsley, watercress, celery or any leafy fresh herb. Some Ashkenazi Jews use a boiled potato as karpas. You can also have other veggies and dips to nosh on
- Charoset – both a connection to the mortar the Israelite slaves used for making bricks and to the taste of sweetness and sensuousness of the apple orchard and love in the Song of Songs, read on Pesach. There are wonderful charoset recipes on-line. Perhaps you want to try a new recipe this year from Sephardic, Mizrachi or Ashkenazi traditions
- Maror – bitter herbs symbolizing the bitterness of slavery. You can use dry pieces of horseradish root or mashed horseradish/chreyn from a jar. If you can’t get these, you can use something else that is bitter – eg. a bitter lettuce
- Chazeret – Another kind of bitter herb, usually green onion or lettuce
- Salt water – tasting the tears of oppression and slavery
- Feel free to add other symbols of enslavement and oppression in our world right now, as well as symbols of hope, freedom and transformation
*If there are items you are not able to get, you can get creative! The aim is that through tasting, we internalize various elements of slavery and liberation. You can find other foods that are spring-like, sweet or lumpy and mortar-like, salty, and bitter. You could also find other ways to connect with these qualities and experiences – write down personal or collective experiences that have each quality. Find a poem, quotation or visual image for each one and place them on your Seder plate.
2) Matzah – both the bread of slavery and the bread of freedom. Put 3 pieces of matzah on a plate for ritual purposes with a matzah cover on top.
3) Afikomen bag or cloth to wrap the afikomen, the half matzah that is hidden early in the Seder and is searched for, found and eaten at the end of the meal.
4) Candles – 2 or more to celebrate the beginning of the holyday.
5) Grape juice or wine – fruit of the vine, symbolic of joy and abundance. The four cups of wine are connected to 4 different phrases about liberation in Exodus 6:6 (“I will free you;” “I will deliver you;” “I will redeem you;” “I will take you to be My people.”)
6) Cos Eliyahu/Elijah’s cup whose presence connects us to future liberation.
7) Cos Miriam/Miriam’s Cup with water in it, connects us to Miriam’s well, a limitless source of sustenance in the wilderness.
8) Pitcher of water, bowl and towel for 2 different hand washing moments in the Seder.
Other Preparations before the Seder
Cleaning out Chametz
Chametz is leaven. The practice of removing all grain products from our homes for Pesach (bread, pasta, cereal, cookies, etc.), as well as symbolically selling foods that are not kosher for Pesach (like your scotch collection) is linked to our Sages’ interpretation of chametz, foods that are ‘puffed up’, as representing arrogance and the impulse to self-centred and harmful action, embodied by Pharaoh. Freedom from human oppression requires humility, care for others and quick, decisive action, represented by matzah.
This is a great time to clean out your cupboards, to donate food and funds to food banks, to clean out your closets and donate clothing. You can also sell your chametz online!
Activity: Bedikat Chametz/Final Search for Chametz by Candlelight
On March 26th at night, wrap 10 crumbs of bread in tinfoil and hide them throughout your home (remember where you hid them). Then have a chametz scavenger hunt by the light of candle. Scoop up each bread crumb with a wooden spoon and a feather (if you have them). Put all the crumbs in a bowl and burn them in the morning. May all our moral and spiritual chametz go up in smoke!
Ways you can help others this Pesach
- Mazon Canada: A Jewish Response to Hunger – www.mazoncanada.ca
- UJA’s Global Seder raises funds to help vulnerable Jews, locally and globally, to celebrate Passover in dignity – jewishtoronto.com/global-seder
- Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, is the leading food rescue organization in Israel – www.leket.org/en