Ronnie's Awesome List presents a guest article by Deborah Burg-Schnirman. Deborah runs Kesher Marin, a concierge service designed to help families explore Jewish life and community. She is currently helping families connect to Passover festivities for families in and around Marin. The following is some background information about Passover followed by Bay Area resources and events.
Passover 2017 begins in the evening of Monday, April 10 and ends in the evening of Tuesday, April 18. For many Jews, Passover is the most important of all Jewish holidays. Indeed, more Jewish Americans observe Passover than any other Jewish holiday. Passover’s popularity is partly because it tends to be a family holiday, celebrated with a festive meal in which we retell a foundational story of the Jewish people—the Exodus from slavery in Egypt. It is also a Spring holiday, with symbols of rebirth of the earth.
A BRIEF STORY OF PASSOVER
Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew (with a guttural pronunciation of the ch as in the composer, Bach), commemorates the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery. The story of the Exodus is one of the central biblical narratives of the Jewish people and Passover is sometimes referred to in Hebrew as Z’man Cherutaynu, Season of Freedom. Recalling the history of oppression reminds us to stand up against all forms of injustice.
The Passover story is retold at a festive ritual dinner called a seder. In Hebrew, the word seder means “order” and, in this case, it refers to the step-by-step order of the 15 parts that make up the seder itself. A special booklet called a haggadah serves as a guide. The hagaddah functions as a ‘script’ for the meal and often everyone attending gets a copy and is invited to take turns reading out loud throughout the festivities. One contemporary rabbi, Jill Jacobs, adds: “During the seder, we don’t just tell the story of the Exodus, we see, smell, feel and taste liberation.”
During the seder, several ritual foods are eaten and four glasses of wine or grape juice are used to sanctify the celebration and as a symbol of joy. Matzah, an unleavened bread resembles a large cracker and is referred to as “the bread of affliction.” Matzah reminds us of the unleavened bread that didn’t have time to rise during the Israelites’ hurried departure from Egypt. During the entire Passover holiday, it is traditional to relive the Exodus story by abstaining from eating bread and other leavened products, called chametz in Hebrew.
This year, the first night of Passover falls on Monday, April 10 and the holiday lasts for a week in Israel and for the Reform communities and eight days otherwise. Because Jewish holidays are based on the Hebrew calendar which is a modified lunar calendar, the holidays vary compared to the secular American calendar but Passover usually falls somewhere in March or April.
SPECIAL PASSOVER EVENTS FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
For Babies, Toddlers & Parents (or caregivers)
Passover Family Connections, Sun Apr 2, 9:30 - 11:30 AM, Osher Marin JCC.
Park Playdates! - Passover Edition Touch, Taste, & Smell Passover, Sat Apr 15
4:00 - 5:30 PM, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco.
CRUSTY CHOCOLATE SEDER, Sat Apr 1, 2:30 - 4:00 PM, Congregation Rodef Sholom
For The Whole Family (any event that spreads across more than one category)
Celebrate Passover at Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, Sat Apr 1, 10:30 - 2:00 PM, Makor Marin
Model Matzah Bakery, Sun Apr 2, 10:00 - 12:00 PM, Chabad Novato
Passover Puppet Show with Jen Miriam Altman, Sun Apr 2, 11:30 - 12:00 PM, Contemporary Jewish Museum
Seder Sack Assembly, various dates and times, 2:00 - 4:00 PM, Jewish Family & Children's Service, San Francisco, San Rafael, San Mateo, Palo Alto and Santa Rosa.
Passover Pop-Up, Mon Apr 3, 9:00 - 1:00 PM, Osher Marin JCC
Community Passover Seder, check website, Chabad of Marin, San Rafael
Passover Seder, Mon Apr 10, 7:15 - 10:00 PM, Chabad Novato
Passover Seder, Tue Apr 10, 7:15 - 10:30 PM, Apr 11, 8:30 - 11:00 PM, Chabad Mill Valley
Family Passover Seder, Tue Apr 11, 5:30 - 8:30 PM, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco
Passover in the Desert, Wilderness Torah, Mon Apr 13 3:00 PM, Apr 17 12:00 PM
Contemplative Passover Seder, Tue April 11, 6:30 - 10:00 pm, Congregation Kol Shofar, Tiburon
Kesher Gift Bags for Passover Sign up now to receive a free Kesher gift bag, filled with Passover goodies from the Marin Jewish community. These reusable fabric bags will bring extra joy to your family's holiday celebration with a Lego frog kit, seder plate, matzah, grape juice, crafts kits, our Passover @Home guide and more. Don't delay! Sign up now by clicking on the green bag. - supplies are limited.
Seder in a Box Jewish Learning Works' Jewish Community Library is offering sets of printed haggadot on loan through their wildly popular Seder in a Box program. They have several versions perfect for families with young children and can be delivered with your Kesher Passover gift bags.
Passover @Home Guide Check out the new Passover @Home guide for families with young children produced by Jewish LearningWorks! Inside you'll find a child-friendly version of the Passover story, engaging seder activities, traditions & rituals, Passover food & recipes, Haggadah recommendations, resources, and more!
Interfaith Family Passover Guide A guide to Passover for Interfaith families that includes just about everything you could possibly want to know about Passover.
Wishing you a delightful Passover celebration!
For more information about Kesher, check out the Kesher newsletter with all of the details for the holidays, sign up to receive the newsletter monthly, and join the Kesher Facebook Group which is a place for to find events, host your own get-togethers, give and get advice, share resources, connect with other families with Jewish kids or just follow along in case something strikes your fancy. In addition to community Passover programs, seders and resources, Kesher is offering a free Passover gift bag for the first 100 people who sign up. esher is always looking for ways to help you do Jewish.
How will you celebrate?