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Passover is a holiday of hope, renewal, and life. Nature’s spring is the backdrop for our people’s Exodus story of beginnings and freedom. Passover’s message and mood encourage and inspire us. As Spring begins, Passover reminds us. We are keepers of a vision, advocates for redemption. Celebrating Pesah by gathering with family and friends around our Seder tables and joining in community, we attach our personal lives and concerns to the grand and potent moral principles for which God brought our ancestors out of Egypt.


Passover is a holiday of hope and renewal, especially this year. Against the backdrop of so much that is difficult and disturbing, nature’s spring is the season of our people’s Exodus story of redemption. In our festival services we will rejoice as well as seek perspective and reinforce the meaning of freedom.

Erev Shabbat and Pesah
Friday April 15th, 5:30 pm (Please note earlier time.)
Participate with us ONLY ON ZOOM

Shabbat and First Day of Passover
Saturday April 16th, 9:30 am
Join us IN PERSON in the Stone Family Sanctuary or participate with us Online at Beth El Live – Services

Second and Seventh Days of Passover “Seder Service”
Sunday April 17 and Friday April 22, 9:30 am
Join us IN PERSON ONLY in the Stone Family Sanctuary as we sit around tables to share in a “Seder Service” during which we’ll intersperse insights, teaching, and brief discussions into our recitation and festival prayer.

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Erev Shabbat and 8th Day Pesah
Friday April 22nd, 6:15 pm
Join us IN PERSON in the Stone Family Sanctuary or participate with us Online at Beth El Live – Services

Shabbat and Eighth Day of Passover
Saturday April 23rd, 9:30 am

Join us IN PERSON in the Stone Family Sanctuary or participate with us Online at Beth El Live – Services.  
Yizkor Memorial Prayers will be recited.
Join us for Kiddush Lunch following our service. 
Please RSVP here

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First Born Minyan
Friday, April 15 | 7:30 am

A morning minyan and brief study session followed by a light breakfast, the last hametz meal before Passover. The tradition of participating in a Siyyum B’khorim marks the role of the first born of both Israel and Egypt in the Exodus story. Attendance at this minyan is a special mitzvah for all first-born males. First born daughters and everyone else are also welcome.

April 18,19, 20, & 21 |  7:30 am
Join us in person at Beth El or via Zoom


The Telling
Author Mark Gerson
Thursday, March 31 at 7:00 pm

Join us In Person at Beth El or via Zoom 

In The Telling, Mark Gerson shows us how to make the Seder the most engaging, inspiring, and important night of the Jewish year. The Telling will enable you to see what the Haggadah really is: The Greatest Hits of Jewish Thought. This understanding will enable you to provide your guests with the most interesting, insightful and practically helpful night of the year—with teachings and lessons that will continue to brighten in the year to come.

Mark Gerson joins us via Zoom to discuss his best-selling book and to dialogue with Rabbi Shulman. Mark Gerson joins us courtesy of the Jewish Book Council.

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Telling the Exodus Story Anew
Rabbi Ron Shulman
Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 pm

Join us In Person at Beth El or via Zoom

It’s our third pandemic Passover and again time to tell the Exodus story. What new insights and understandings can we bring to our Seder tables this year? What have we learned since last Passover? 
How might we read ourselves and our experiences into the Exodus story? Join Rabbi Shulman to explore the Haggadah and Passover holiday for meaning and ideas as we prepare for our Seder celebrations.

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Sunday, April 3 | 10:00 am
Turk Family Plaza
Register here

Learn to make delicious Passover treats to bring to your Passover celebrations! Kids will love mixing and measuring, and you’ll all enjoy eating the results. Each family will have their own station, materials, and ingredients. Program will take place outside on the Turk Family Plaza. Registration required to attend. Please register below.

Contact for more information.

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Now through April 5

Together with Jewish Family Service, we will provide traditional Passover foods to homebound seniors and families in need to help brighten the Passover holiday. We will be collecting the following items through April 5.

You may participate by donating here or by bringing the following items to the admin office at Congregation Beth El: 750 ml grape juice, Jarred gefilte fish, Matzo meal, Matzo ball soup mix, Jam, Jelly candies, chocolate, macaroons. 

If you would like to volunteer to assemble packages or would like more information, please contact

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To enhance your Seder celebrations, we offer you: 
Seders in Seclusion: Suggestions for Ritual Symbols and Seder Activities

Click here for a PDF of explanations and ideas prepared by Rabbi Shulman to help us plan this year’s Seder celebrations, whether we’re together or apart.

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Haggadah Hineni, A Personal Participation Passover Haggadah
Click here for a PDF of this Haggadah Rabbi Shulman created in 2019 to help us all experience personally engaging and enjoyable Seder gatherings. We share it with you this year as a resource. You may wish to use one, two, or a few of the questions and comments to guide intimate Seder discussions in person or with your virtual participants.

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The Feast of Freedom, Rabbinical Assembly Haggadah

Click here for a PDF of this popular and complete Haggadah. If you’re conducting a virtual Seder with participants in more than one location, everyone can be using the same Haggadah.

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Passover is a season of hope, renewal, and life. Nature’s spring is the backdrop for our People’s story of beginnings and freedom. Passover’s message and mood lift us up and encourage us to look ahead to better days and brighter times.

As we get ready for our holiday, we pause to consider the meanings of freedom and human dignity we celebrate during the days of Passover. Anticipating Pesah, we are optimistic. In the course of time we may feel differently, but before our festival we look forward. As spring begins, we need Passover’s reminder. We are keepers of the vision, advocates for redemption.

Celebrating Pesah by gathering with family and friends around our Seder Tables, we attach our personal lives and concerns to the grand and potent moral principles for which God brought our ancestors out of Egypt.

On Passover the food we eat teaches us to pay proper attention to each and every person we meet. Matzah symbolizes freedom and human dignity. Matzah represents goodness and truth. It is made of any grain that can ferment or become Hametz: wheat, rye, oats, barley, or spelt. On Passover, Hametz, fermented grains and foods, suggests human arrogance and injustice. Of course, grain is not honest or unjust, good or bad. We are. That’s why limiting ourselves to the pure, unleavened grains of Matzah we eat on Passover reminds us to live for and to do good, to open ourselves to others, to form relationships and honor every person.

The freedom and equality we seek for all people requires humility, not arrogance. We wish not to live as people serving our own wills. Fermented grain implies personal and social excess. Unleavened bread suggests modesty. Passover teaches us that human arrogance is held in check by awareness of existence beyond ourselves. The change we make from Hametz to Matzah symbolizes that our efforts in life are in service of God and the values of God’s presence in our world.

Matzah was there from the beginning to the end. It was not only the dough which our ancestors did not have the time to let rise as they left Egypt, but the bread of affliction which they ate as slaves. Matzah, the bread of slaves, became the sustenance of a free people.

On Passover we turn our basic need for food and nourishment into the symbolic agent through which we express our faith and personal values. Just as all Matzah is potentially Hametz, so are we descendants of unpretentious slaves potentially the hardened and conceited of heart and mind. One week each year we return to the core ideals and basic visions of the goodness, honesty, and dignity our lives should reflect.

The physical process of cleaning, preparing, and changing our homes and kitchens is intended to inform our spiritual identities. Ritual and tradition without ethics is also ritual and tradition without deeper meaning.


First, before you begin cooking for the holiday, remove from your kitchen foods containing Hametz - grains and their derivatives you won’t be eating during the holiday. These include: breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, cereals, pasta, and the like. All liquids containing grain alcohol should also be removed. Many Ashkenazi families also remove legumes like rice, corn, beans, and peas, called Kitniyot, from their kitchens.

You may store unopened packages and dry goods you will want to use after Passover in another place, perhaps in the garage or a closet, or even in a kitchen cabinet that will remain closed throughout Pesah. These items should be "sold" before Passover to symbolically cancel your ownership of them. It is customary to make a modest contribution to feed others as part of this "sale." Many people also donate some of these foods to shelters and soup kitchens for the benefit of others.

Second, identify where in your kitchen you will place your Passover dishes, utensils, and cookware. If necessary, thoroughly clean your kitchen paying close attention to the cupboards and drawers you will use on Passover, the refrigerator, freezer, countertops, and sink. Your stovetop should be scrubbed clean. Afterward, turn the burners on to full flame or heat for just a moment. After cleaning your microwave oven, place a glass of water into it and turn the oven on until the water boils. A self-cleaning oven can be made ready for Passover by its normal cleaning method. Other ovens should be scoured and run on high for a brief period after they are clean. Run your empty dishwasher through a complete wash cycle to prepare it for use. When your kitchen is clean, pour boiling water over any exposed metal surfaces and you’ll be ready to bring in your Passover foods and utensils.

Dishes, pots, and utensils especially reserved for Passover should be used. (If you don’t have separate Passover dishes, use paper, plastic, and other disposable or recyclable items to help keep costs down.) Any utensils or pots made entirely of metal you use during the rest of the year may be placed in boiling water after they have been scoured and then used during Passover. All table glassware can be used after complete cleaning. Earthenware, enamel, wood, porcelain, and plastic items you use during the year cannot be made Kosher for Passover. Towels and linens can be used after they have been washed. Purchase new sponges for Passover. Close away or store those things in your kitchen that you will not be using during the holiday.

Third, bring your Kosher for Passover foods into your prepared and very clean kitchen! The only foods that require a "Kosher for Passover" label are: all Matzah products and baked goods, processed foods, (canned, bottled, or frozen) wine, vinegar, liquor, oils, dried fruits, candy, chocolate flavored milk, ice cream, yogurt, and soda. Many other products are labeled "Kosher for Passover" and it is always preferable to use them during the holiday.

Consumer warning: Watch out for the vast variety of foods marketed and sold for Passover that imitate Hametz. You probably won’t use or need them anyway. Keep focused on the values of the Passover holiday while remembering it is a festive and special time. A good rule of thumb is, "if I wouldn’t buy this during the other fifty-one weeks of the year, why do I need it now?"

On the night before the First Seder, carefully hide a few breadcrumbs around the house and send your children on a hunt to find them. This is known as Bedikat Hametz, a final search to rid the house of Hametz. The quaint custom is to take a feather and wooden spoon, scoop the breadcrumbs into a paper bag, and then burn it all. The B’rakhot, blessings, that are recited for this ritual are found in most Haggadot.

In addition to delivering your hametz for the use of others, consider making a contribution to Congregation Beth El for Jewish Family Service’s Passover Food Drive and/or Mazon: A Jewish Response To Hunger to provide food for those in need. This tzedakah is known in Jewish tradition as Ma’ot Hitim (Grain Money.)

Finally, prepare your Seder celebration in advance of your family and friend’s arrival. Preparing a meaningful Seder is one of the most important needs we have as Passover approaches. Think about who will be present with you, how long they can sit, what ideas and activities will best interest and engage them, and how you can join together in retelling the story of our people’s Exodus from Egypt. A “talking Seder” of discussion, games, or activities and conversation using the Haggadah for the Seder’s order, prayers, and explanation of symbols works well!

Click to read: The Rabbinical Assembly Passover Guide 2022

Sat, February 4 2023 13 Shevat 5783