A Southern Jewish Passover tradition continues as Rabbi Jeremy Simons and Rabbi Matthew Dreffin embark on the fifth annual Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life “Passover Pilgrimage.”
The Passover Pilgrimage’s traveling series of seders has become a tradition for the communities along its path. In this week-long journey, which this year expands to include seven states, Rabbis Simons and Dreffin will each conduct services, lead community seders, offer educational programs and facilitate dialogue.
Each year, the events draw a diverse crowd and foster positive, shared community experiences. Passover begins the evening of April 3.
This will be Simons’ first year on the pilgrimage, visiting several communities that have taken part in previous years.
Dreffin’s journey begins at Anshe Chesed in Vicksburg on April 3, then B’nai Israel in Fayetteville, Ga., on April 4; Shalom B’Harim in Dahlonega, Ga., and Camp Coleman on April 5; Rodeph Sholom in Rome, Ga., on April 6, the Upper Cumberland Jewish Community in Crossville, Tenn., on April 7 and St. Philips Episcopal Church on April 9.
Simons will visit B’nai Israel in Natchez on March 27 and 28, followed by B’nai Israel in Panama City on April 3 and 4; Shomrei Torah in Tallahassee on April 4; Beth Shalom in Auburn on April 5; Mishkan Israel in Selma on April 6; Meir Chayim in McGehee, Ark., on April 8; and concluding at Temple Shalom, Lafayette, on April 10 and 11.
Seders for the Christian community
With so many non-Jews interested in Passover, Montgomery’s Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem is putting on a Seder on March 15 at 1 p.m.
Many churches, figuring that the Last Supper was likely a Passover Seder, put on versions of the meal, and interfaith Seders are also popular.
In a lot of cases, “messianic” groups tour churches this time of year and put on Seders that take the traditional Passover symbols and replace their significance with Christian-based meanings, such as the paschal lamb representing Jesus.
Rabbi Scott Kramer will lead the traditional Seder with an explanation of the rituals and practices. There will be a full meal and a wide range of Passover foods sampled.
Reservations are $45 and are limited to 100 participants.
Seder under the Saturn V?
At Alabama’s largest Passover celebration this year, there will be plenty of space — but how much room remains to be seen.
Each year Pastor Robert Somerville organizes “Christ Our Passover” in Huntsville, an interdenominational Hebraic roots event to promote awareness of Jewish festivals and practices that underlie Christian teachings. The Seder attracts over 1,000 each year.
This year the event will be at the Space and Rocket Center’s Davidson Center, underneath the Saturn V Apollo moon rocket that is suspended from the ceiling. It will be on March 31 at 6 p.m., and those attending the event are welcome to tour the Space and Rocket Center from 4 to 6 p.m.
Somerville, who heads Awareness Ministries, is also active in Christian Advocates for Israel. Tickets for the Seder are $25, and this year’s community project offering recipient will be Space Camp’s scholarship fund for disadvantaged children.
Seders in the Region
The Seder at Auburn’s Beth Shalom will start at 6 p.m. on April 5, with a social gathering beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Birmingham’s Bais Ariel Chabad Center will have a Seder on April 3 at 7:30 p.m., following the 6:45 p.m. service. Reservations are $36 for adults, $18 for children. Chabad’s kitchen is also doing Passover catering, with orders due by March 22. Available items are sweet brisket, chicken, potato kugel, vegetable kugel, squash kugel, sweet potato kugel and tsimmes.
Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood in Birmingham will hold its annual Women’s Seder on March 22.
The interfaith event generally sells out, as over 200 women celebrate the holiday, learn more about the role of women in Jewish history and enjoy a traditional Seder led by Cantor Jessica Roskin and Rabbi Laila Haas. The Seder is open to the community and begins at 5 p.m. Reservations are $25, or $36 for sponsorship.
Emanu-El’s congregational Seder will be on April 3 at 6 p.m., led by Cantor Jessica Roskin. Reservations are $25 for adults, $10 ages 12 and under. Participants are asked to bring a bottle of wine or grape juice. Childcare will be provided for ages 15 months to 5 years during part of the Seder.
Emanu-El will also have a Candy Seder on April 12 at 9:30 a.m.
Dothan’s Temple Emanu-El will have a Seder on April 3 at 6 p.m. Reservations are $28 for adults, $14 for children, and are due by March 27.
Etz Chayim in Huntsville is having a Seder with a Shabbat service starting at 6 p.m. on April 3. Seder reservations are $36 for adults, $15 for teens, $10 for ages 7 to 12, and free for 6 and under. Reservations were due on March 1.
Ahavas Chesed in Mobile will have a Seder on April 3 at 6:30 p.m., following the 6 p.m. minyan. Reservations are $35 for members, $40 for non-members, $10 for ages 10 to 13 and free for 9 and under.
Springhill Avenue Temple in Mobile will have a traditional Seder on April 3, serving brisket, cheesecake and traditional Passover dishes. Shabbat services will be at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Seder at 6 p.m. Reservations are $35 for members, $40 for non-members and $20 for children under 13. Reservation deadline is March 25.
Agudath Israel-Etz Ahayem in Montgomery is planning a community Seder on April 4 at 7 p.m.
Temple Beth Or in Montgomery will have a Seder on April 3, using the “Open Door” Haggadah published by the Reform movement. There will be a brief service at 5:15 p.m., with the Seder starting at 6 p.m. Reservations are $25 for adults, $10 for ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under. Deadline is March 27.
Tuscaloosa’s Temple Emanu-El is planning a community Seder on April 3 at 6 p.m.
Chabad of the Emerald Coast will host a Seder on April 3 at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are $36 per adult, $20 per child, though nobody will be turned away from a lack of funds. Reservation deadline is March 19.
Fort Walton Beach’s Temple Beth Shalom is holding a community Seder at the Eglin Air Force Base Bayview Club on April 4 at 6 p.m. Reservations are open to members through March 14, after which it is open to non-members on a space available basis. Reservations are $38 for adults, $12.50 for children ages 3 to 10, with a family maximum of $90 for two adults and $55 for single-parent families. Non-member reservations are $48 for adults and $16 for ages 3 to 10. Special confidential cost arrangements can be made as needed. All reservations for those without military ID must include the names, dates of birth and social security numbers. All attending who are age 16 and over must also have a valid picture ID, such as a driver license, school ID or other state or federal ID. All reservations are due by March 30.
B’nai Israel in Panama City will have a Seder on April 3 with Rabbi Jeremy Simon from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life. Reservations are $40 for adults, $20 for children under Bar/Bat Mitzvah for members, $55 for adults and $27.50 for children who are not members. Reservations must be received by March 30 and are limited to 110 participants.
Pensacola’s Temple Beth-El will have a Seder at the Pensacola Yacht Club on April 3 at 6 p.m. The menu includes gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, a choice of roasted chicken or crustless mini-quiche, sweet potatoes and vegetables, and strawberry mousse. Reservations are $28 for members, $18 for military or college students, $15 for ages 5 to 12 and free for 4 and under. Non-member reservations are $35 if space is available. Reservations are required by March 30.
Beth Shalom Baton Rouge will have a second night Seder on April 4 at 7 p.m. Reservations for member adults are $30, $20 for Hillel and other students ages 13 and over, $10 for ages 6 to 12, and free for 5 and under. Reservations are requested by March 23.
B’nai Israel in Baton Rouge will have a second night Seder on April 4 at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are due by March 25 and are $35 for members and guests of members, $45 for non-members and $15 for those under 16. Because of renovations at B’nai Israel, the Seder will be at St. Joseph’s Academy.
Temple Shalom in Lafayette will have a congregational Seder on April 3.
Temple Sinai in Lake Charles will have a congregational Seder on April 4 at 6 p.m. at the new Reeves Uptown Catering.
B’nai Israel in Monroe will have a Seder at the Bayou DeSiard Country Club. More details will be announced.
The Northshore Jewish Congregation will have its Second Night Seder on April 4 at 6 p.m. Participants in the potluck dinner are asked to sign up and state what non-dairy Passover-sensitive dish they will bring. Reservations are $18 per adult and $9 for those ages 12 and under. Roberta Torman will lead the Seder.
Anshe Sfard in New Orleans will have a community Seder on April 3. Reservations are $25 and sponsors are invited to help defray costs for younger members of the community and those who would have trouble with the cost.
Beth Israel in Metairie will have a community Seder on April 4 after the 7 p.m. service. Reservations are requested by March 27, and are $26 for adults and $15 for children who are members; non-members are $36 for adults and $20 for children.
Shir Chadash in Metairie is not holding its annual second night Musical Seder because of Shabbat. There will be a communal Seder for the first night, April 3, at the home of Rabbi Ethan Linden, starting at 7:30 p.m. Reservations are $30 for adults and $20 for children, and space is limited. The Shir Chadash office will also be a clearinghouse for those who have extra space at their Seder, or who need a Seder to attend.
Deborah Mintz will lead a Kos Miriam Seder for Women and Girls at Shir Chadash on March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Sisterhood, the event is $10 per person, including a light dinner.
Shir Chadash will also have a catered Passover dinner on April 10. Services will be at 6:45 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. Adults are $15, ages 6 to 13 are $10 and ages 5 and under are free. Reservations are due by the morning of April 1.
Gates of Prayer in Metairie will have a “Very Sweet Second Night” Seder on April 4 at 6 p.m. Reservations are $25 for adults, $10 for children ages 4 to 12, and no charge for ages 3 and under. Reservations are due by March 25.
Chabad in Metairie will have a Seder on April 3 at 7:15 p.m., led by Rabbi Yossie Nemes. Reservations are $33 for adults, $22 for children ages 4 to 15. After March 23, it goes up $10 per person. Sponsorships are also welcomed.
Touro Synagogue in New Orleans will have a first night congregational Seder on April 3 at 6:30 p.m., following an abbreviated Shabbat service at 6 p.m.
Touro Synagogue will have a “Seaside Second Night Seder” on April 4 in Biloxi. After the congregation hosts a typical first night Seder at Touro on April 3, the second Seder will be at the South Beach Biloxi Hotel and Suites. Rabbi Alexis Berk and Cantor David Mintz will lead the Seder on the hotel terrace overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Studio, one- and two-bedroom suites will be available, with group room rates available through March 9. More information is available from Touro.
Temple Sinai in New Orleans will have a second night Seder on April 4 at 6 p.m., following a 5:30 p.m. service. Reservations are $30 for adults, $10 for ages 12 and under. Non-member reservations are $35 for adults, $12 for children. College student reservations are $5. Reservations are required by March 27.
B’nai Zion in Shreveport will have a Seder on April 3 at 6:30 p.m., conducted by Rabbi Jana De Benedetti. Reservations are $45 for members, $18 for ages 5 to 12 and $20 for students 13 and above. Non-members are $50 for adults and $20 for non-member students ages 5 and up. All children under 5 are free. Reservations are due by March 20. If space is available after March 20, there is a higher cost for reservations.
B’nai Israel in Columbus will have a community Seder on April 3 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations are $36 for adults, and donations are encouraged to subsidize Mississippi State students, who are invited to attend at no cost but are encouraged to contribute $10 if they can. Deadline is March 27.
The Hillel at Mississippi State will have a student-run Passover Seder at the Canterbury Episcopal lodge on April 8. The event will include Hillel students, Episcopal students and the campus chapter of Christians United for Israel.
Beth Israel in Jackson will have a second night Seder on April 4. Reservations are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and children ages 5 to 10 are $10. A vegetarian option is available.