Even as we are finishing off our Hamentaschen from a remarkable Purim celebration, we know one thing for sure: Pesach is just around the corner! Pesach (Passover) is our great holiday of freedom, of possibility, of moving through the “narrow places” of our lives. And this year, when the world feels stuck in so many narrow places, we need to celebrate the possibilities of freedom more than ever. This year, the first Seder begins Wednesday night, April 5, 2023. May it carry with it the hope of Spring, the inspiration of liberation, and the conviction that can come by connecting to our past and collectively imagining our future.
May your Pesach be filled with community, with friends and family, with good food, with song and conversation that captures the essence of this holiday and freedom and renewal. And may we each find ways to bring its message forward into the world.
I hope these resources and the community of PSJC help you have a meaningful, sweet Passover.
Zissen Pesach! (A Sweet Passover)
-Rabbi Carie Carter
Sale of Chametz
This year, it is all-the-more important to sell your chametz. This can be done with this online form. It gives Rabbi Carie permission to sell your chametz to a non-Jewish person for the duration of Passover. Just put your leftover chametz in a sealed cabinet/separate location in your home and allow me to sell it for you. Please fill out our online Chametz Sale form by Monday, April 3, 2023.
“Little Things”—A Reminder about Kitniyot
The question of whether or not to eat kitniyot (legumes) during Passover has challenged Ashkenazi Jews for generations. Here is a teshuvah addressing that question —reminding us not to let “the little things” take on too much importance…in our eating and in our lives.
Resources for Families with Young Children
Still looking for a Haggadah to meet the needs of your whole family? Check out the PJ Library Haggadah. You can download it or order hard copies. Plus you can check out all of the resources from PJ Library on how to host a seder, crafts, and more.
Concerned about a "I only eat plain pasta" kid and Passover? Check out these recipes from PJ Library. If all else fails, milkshakes, with or without nut butter, make a great fall back. It's only a week!
Kveller has put together a great list of Passover crafts. If you're looking to try something new for Seder this year, check out K'ilu Kit for a truly interactive experience. Remember that Passover is about telling the story of the Exodus from one generation to another. Everything else is commentary!
Feed Your Body as Well as Your Soul
Revisit PSJC's first-ever progressive Passover cooking lesson! Learn from our community’s creative cooks how to make halek (Indian charoset), special matzo balls, Pesach rolls and more. Get inspiration for your own sedarim and the days that follow.
Pesach is such an involved, central holiday of the Jewish year, it can not be entered without preparation. This includes physically cleaning our homes and emotionally trying to rid ourselves of internal chametz (that which puffs us up). It is a time of trying to clearly identify our
own “narrow places” and to find the courage (like the Israelites at the Sea of Reeds) to step through that narrow place and begin a new journey, one filled with unknowns but also with amazing possibility. So, even as you are filled with the efforts of cleaning and cooking for this Feast of Freedom, please don’t forget to find time for yourself, to prepare yourself and your soul for the journey ahead.
Here are some dates to keep in mind to help bring Pesach into your life and to share it with the PSJC Community.
Passover Justice Resources
Pesach is an important moment in the Jewish year in which we are encouraged to speak with family and friends about the very real needs of our world, the places where justice is lacking, where oppression abounds. Here are some great sites filled with readings and information to
help those conversations and actions along.
**Please check back on this site as we will be updating it frequently in the weeks prior to Pesach.
Ha Lachma Anya—Di Achalu? “This bread of Affliction—Why do we eat it?—because
our ancestors were slaves in the Land of Egypt” How can we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt with an eye towards the issues of our world today?
Repair the World and HIAS have developed special material for Seder night to help us respond to the current refugee crisis in our world through the eyes of our own story of escape from Egypt and wandering to freedom in the Promised Land.
Religious Action Center contains a huge array of material on social justice issues related to Passover including a series of themed haggadot (such as Invisible: The Story of Modern Slavery, A Social Justice Haggadah; a Hunger Seder Haggadah; an Earth Seder Haggadah). This site also shares the stories behind some of the new/modern additions to our seder plate including: potatoes, Miriam’s Cup, an orange, fair trade chocolate or cocoa beans, tomatoes.
Hazon includes Resources for a Sustainable Pesach, a great resource for ways to protect our environment during Passover.
Kol Dichfin Yeitei v’yei-chul; Kol Ditzrich Yetei v’yifsach—Let all who are hungry comeand eat. Let all who are in need come and celebrate.
The high cost of Passover supplies makes this a difficult time for many Jewish families.
Donations to the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund at this season are used for Ma’ot Chittin to provide matzah and other Passover items for those in need.
Hashata hacha, L’shanah haba’ah b’arah d’Yisrael. “ This year we are here, next year in the Land of Israel.” This year, support an organization that promotes co-existence in Israel. The New Israel Fund supports many wonderful organizations and efforts dedicated to this critical work.
Hashata Avdei, L’shanah haba’ah b’nai chorin. “This year we are slaves, next year, may we all be free.” Learn more about modern-day slavery at Free the Slaves.
See also Made by Survivors to learn how you might help support the victims of human trafficking.
T’ruah offers: The Other Side of the Sea: A Haggadah for Fighting Modern Slavery.
The Anti-Racism Committee of Rodfei Tzedek has been doing a good deal of work with the Jewish Coalition for Criminal Justice Reform. Consider these texts as a jumping off point for discussions around imprisonment and freedom.
May these and other resources help you bring Pesach’s message forward in deep and relevant ways this year.
An Addition to the Passover Plate
As you are considering additions to your seder plate (along with the orange, olives, and tomatoes of years past), I wanted to let you know that some have been adding a bar of soap or hand sanitizer as a reminder of our need to play a role in our own safety and redemption. I also wanted to invite you to consider sunflower seeds (if you are comfortable with Kitniyot) or a sunflower for the people of Ukraine. Two years ago, members of our congregation, Kenan and
Sojourn, also invite us to add ginger root to our seder plates to remind us of the need to support people of Asian descent who are currently experiencing increased hatred and racism as a result of the pandemic. Here is the invitation from Sojourn and Kenan sent to us.