Passover FAQ

ABOUT OUR 2016 PASSOVER SEDER . . .

Who sponsors your Seder?

Our Seder is sponsored by The Temple of Universal Judaism (TUJ), a URJ: Union for Reform Judaism Congregation-and- TorahNYC, TUJ’s Outreach initiative.

 

Do I have to be a member of The Temple of Universal Judaism  -or- TorahNYC to attend?  What costs are involved?

No. All of TorahNYC’s -and-The Temple of Universal Judaism services, events, holidays, classes – even our High Holy Days – are open to all.

Generally, our programs are by donation and there is no set charge.

However, since our April 23rd Second Night Seder is a catered event in its own room at a handicapped accessible restaurant, it is necessary to set the following charges for our members and guests:

   Adults 25 and over:     Members $85, Guests $95
  Young Adults 13-24:     Members $45, Guests $60
            Children 3-12:      Members $25, Guests $25
      Children under 3:      $0

Friends and Family of TUJ Members are invited to attend at the Members’ price.

Limited, partial scholarships are available.  Contact Rabbi Fridkis:
RabbiFridkis@TorahNYC.org

 

The price of the Seder seems high.  Need it cost so much?  Is the congregation making money on the Seder?

By New York City standards, the cost of our Seder is quite moderate.

We will be celebrating the holiday with a 7-course catered meal, including Passover wine for the Seder service.  The price includes all Seder accouterments as well as tips for the wait staff.

The Temple of Universal Judaism makes no profit from the Seder.  On the contrary; the congregation has actually allocated a small subsidy toward the price for Adults (25 and over), a much larger subsidy for Young Adults (13-24) as well as anyone in need of a scholarship.

If you would like to make a donation to our Passover Seder Scholarship Fund – so those who can afford less can celebrate the holiday with us – it is greatly appreciated.

 

Is there a cutoff date for reservations?

Reservations must be received and pre-paid by Friday April 15th:

via email(preferable)  TUJCongregation@gmail.com
     or via TUJ voicemail  212-658-0810

Checks made out to TUJ should be mailed to:
Roger Feffer, Treasurer
Temple of Universal Judaism
11 Riverside Dr, #14K-W
New York, NY 10023

To pay via credit card please email us at:
Reservations@TorahNYC.org
Someone will contact you to process your credit card.

 

Are children welcome at the Seder?  Is there a place set aside for children to play?

Children are always welcome at TUJ!  Passover is a family holiday.  We want children at the Seder:

  • to help recite the Four Questions (Hebrew or English)
  • to sing with us
  • to find the Afikomen (hidden Matzah)
  • and to remind all of us Judaism will thrive in coming generations!

Because TUJ’s Seder is in a restaurant, we ask parents to keep their children engaged at the table.  Please bring quiet games and reading or coloring books.

While the Corner Cafe is spacious, there is no play area.  If you are especially concerned, perhaps a Babysitter can accompany your family for the Seder.

 

Are non-Jews invited to attend the Seder and all TorahNYC – TUJ services and events?

Of course! The Temple of Universal Judaism and TorahNYC pride ourselves on being a “house for all people” (Isaiah 56). For forty years TUJ has been a congregation where all – regardless of religion, race or sexual orientation – can find a Jewish home.

When TorahNYC was founded eight years ago by Rabbi Fridkis, his goal was the same: to reach out and create a spiritual “home” for those not involved in synagogue life, regardless of synagogue membership, religion, race or sexual orientation.

TUJ and TorahNYC know most Reform Jewish families now consist of both Jews and non-Jews.  We are especially sensitive to that and welcome all with open arms.  TUJ is known as NYC’s most interfaith-inclusive Union for Reform Judaism congregation.

 

How long will the Seder Service and Dinner last?

First, there will be Hors d’oeuvres from 6-6:30pm to “nosh” on before the Seder service.

The Seder service – led by TUJ clergy Rabbi Ari Fridkis and Cantor Dana Anesi – will begin at 6:30pm and last approximately 45 minutes prior to the meal.  There will be music, beautiful English readings – as well as English song – and transliteration of all Hebrew congregational melodies.

Before partaking of the Matzah and Maror (Bitter Herbs), Haroset (Chopped Apples and Nuts combined with Passover Wine) as the meal begins, we will open the door for Elijah the Prophet,with prayers for a better life for ourselves and all people.

The festive Seder Meal will then be served.

Following the meal, but prior to dessert (not to be confused with desert :), there will be a very brief, five-minute conclusion to the Seder, including sharing the Afikomen (last bit of Matzah), an additional cup/sip of wine and a joyous closing with the singing of Had Gadya.
Why is TUJ’s Seder service so long?  In our family we read the Hagadah for five or ten minutes, then enjoy the meal together.

The Rabbis of the 1st-3rd centuries created the Seder as a meal and symposium where individuals would come together to speak about the Exodus from Egypt and enjoy festive foods to commemorate that seminal event in Israelite history. Two thousand years later we follow the same prescribed tradition!

Passover is Judaism most joyous and holy family-centered festival.  It is also the holiday that focuses on our origins as a people, our existential place in this world and our thoughts about what lies beyond our physical life on earth.

Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur are important High Holy Days.  They are a time for the individual to consider and improve his/her life.

But the night of the Passover Seder is truly the holiday of the Jewish people and the Jewish soul.

 

How will attendees participate in the service?

The Seder will include readings and songs in Hebrew and English.  If you would like to lead a small part, please hand a note with your name to Rabbi Fridkis.  If you wish to lead a short Hebrew portion, please be able to read the Hebrew fluently.

There will be melodies to sing as well as tambourines and maracas to play. All Hebrew songs will be available in the original Hebrew – as well as English transliteration – so all can participate.

Finally, we invite the children to lead us in the traditional Ma Nishtana: The Four Questions as well as sing with us through parts of the service.

 

What type of Hagadah does the Seder service follow?

We use a traditional Hagadah for Hebrew, English and song.  We also have beautiful English words written by Rabbi Fridkis. Some portions of the service will be shortened: otherwise the Seder service could last 2-3 hours!

We’ve added a modern song celebrating the heroism of Miriam and the Hebrew women in Israel’s escape from Egypt. (As the Hagadah was compiled between the 1st-11th centuries, women’s contributions and voices are noticeably – and predictably – absent from the ancient Hebrew text.)

 

What is the menu for the festive Passover meal?

The Temple of Universal Judaism is offering a full 7-course Passover meal.

  • Prior to the Seder Service, a 1st Course of Chopped Liver, Whitefish Pate and vegetarian Mushroom Pate.
  • A 2nd Course of Matzah and Haroset (Chopped Apples, Nuts and Passover Wine).
  • A 3rd Course of Gefilte Fish with Horseradish
  • A 4thCourse of Chicken Soup with a Matzah Ball
  • A 5th Course of a Dinner Salad
  • A 6th or Main Course, featuring your choice of:
    1. Braised Brisket of Beef with Caramelized Onion Gravy
    2. Roasted Kosher (for those more traditional) Turkey with Pan Gravy
    3. Grilled Salmon with Honey Mustard Sauce
    4. A Vegetarian Entrée
    5. Pan-Roasted Half Chicken

All entrees include Assorted Vegetables and Potatoes.

  • Dessert – four choices – as well as Coffee or Tea

Included are the Four Ceremonial Cups of Wine, as well as Ceremonial Grape Juice for those who prefer.

There is also a very tasty children’s menu that has been a great hit for those under 12.

Soft Drinks will also be available gratis through the restaurant.  Additional glasses and bottles of wines are available for purchase.

 

Is grape juice available for those who do not drink wine?

TUJ and TorahNYC always have both sacramental wine as well as grape juice available (for anyone – who for any reason – does not partake of alcohol).

 

Will the Seder meal be Kosher for Passover?

In keeping with Reform Jewish tradition, there will be no Hametz (leavened products including leavened bread, cake or ingredients) at our Seder. However, the meatand chicken (excluding the Turkey entrée) are not certified Kosher.

 

Will there be vegan and gluten-free foods available?

There will be a number of vegetable and potato items on the menu as well as a Vegetarian Entrée.

In addition, we will have Kosher for Passover Oat Matzah for those with gluten sensitivity or allergies. (Like all Kosher for Passover Matzah, Passover Oat Matzah is baked before the holiday, lest any uncooked crumbs become leaven on the holiday itself.)

 

ABOUT The Temple of Universal Judaism and TorahNYC:

What kind of congregation is The Temple of Universal Judaism?

The Temple of Universal Judaism (TUJ)is a URJ: Union for Reform Judaism congregation. TUJ is the mainstream Reform congregation with a very open-minded, inclusive perspective.

TUJ is also a very warm and inviting congregation.  When you visit nearly allpresent will greet you with “Shabbat Shalom,” “Happy Holiday” or simply “we are glad to meet you.”  We take pride in warmly welcoming and speaking with guests.

The Temple of Universal Judaism also prides itself on being a “house for all people” (Isaiah 56). For forty years TUJ has been a congregation where all people – regardless of religion, race or sexual orientation – can find a Jewish home.  While we are definitely a mainstream Reform Jewish congregation, some of our members are not Jewish!