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Seders will surely be different this year. After all, how do you pass the horseradish on Zoom? Even in this difficult time, JArts would like to offer you some creative songs, stories and conversation starters as a supplement to your holiday celebrations. Chag sameach! Happy holiday! Next year may we physically gather!

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While pouring the first four cups of wine, get in the seder spirit of the evening with “A Taste of Passover” featuring JArts favorite artist the legendary Theodore Bikel (z’l), accompanied by Hankus Netsky dancing with his accordion.

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Water and hand-washing are themes that run through the gallery that JArts co-curates with Mayyim Hayyim. As you wash your hands, meditate on these pieces from the current season shows (some of which you may be able to see when this passes!).

Artists include: Michael MittelmanSergio BautistaResa Blatman and Elliot Schildkrout.

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Instead of dipping plain parsley, try something like this dish that was featured on the 2018 Café Landwer Taste of Israel menu: arayes (Lebanese meat-filled pitas with lots of parsely). Make them kosher for Passover by using matzah in place of pita!

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You’re breaking the middle matzah, so why not break a few more pieces and make a matzah house? Alex Khitrik of Inna’s Kitchen uses charoset as actual mortar.

For tiny house inspiration, check out this video of building our real-life tiny house sukkah at the 2019 Tiny House Festival in Beverly.

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Passover is the holiday of questions, and we ask the same four every year. Throw some new ones into the mix by using these four questions from Julia Vogl’s Pathways to Freedom JArts’ spring 2018 public art installation on the Boston Common.

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Washing our hands again?! We were curious about why it is that we not only wash so much, but that we call the sections by different names. We wanted an answer, and figured you might also, so the talented Rabbi Jillian Cameron wrote us this blog that explains it all beautifully.

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Cultural anthropologist Ellen Rovner (who has led the many JArts walk-and-nosh tours of Chelsea), talks about what Passover was like in Chelsea in this article.

“Growing up in Chelsea in the 1950s, I recall that the public schools had kosher for Passover milk available to buy at lunch, and my mother sending me to school with matzah, a hard-boiled egg, and an apple— a dry, not exactly my favorite lunch!”  

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As we taste the bitter herbs in this strange time, we’re taking comfort from this excerpt from “Necessary Losses” by Judith Viorst, the humorist and author who graced us with her wit and heart this fall at JCC Greater Boston.

“When we think of loss we think of the loss, through death, of people we love. But loss is a far more encompassing theme in our life. For we lose not only through death, but also by leaving and being left, by changing and letting go and moving on. And our losses include not only our separations and departures from those we love, but our conscious and unconscious losses of romantic dreams, impossible expectations, illusions of freedom and power, illusions of safety—and the loss of our younger self, the self that thought it always would be unwrinkled and invulnerable and immortal. Somewhat wrinkled, highly vulnerable and non-negotiably mortal, I have been examining these losses. These lifelong losses. These necessary losses…these losses are a part of life—universal, unavoidable, inexorable. And these losses are necessary because we grow by loving and leaving and letting go.”

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Roll over, Rav Hillel! We were so inspired by Little Big Diner’s chicken liver pate with yuzu jam from this year’s Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen that we’re making it the JArts take on this classic sandwich. Thanks, chef Dave Punch.

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It’s time for the festive meal! Enjoy these freedom-inspired tunes with your meal, curated by JArts’ very own artistic director Joey Baron. There’s even a song about brisket!

Check out our Spotify playlists: “Passover Cleaning and Cooking,” “Dinner Music” and “Freedom 2020.”

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When it’s time to find the afikoman, the seder is all about being free to play. Bring a bit more playfulness into your seder with this virtual version of the block created by artist Tova Speter in conjunction with our forthcoming public art project, Sari Carel’sThe Shape of Play” (postponed date TBA). Give it a roll!

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After spending weeks at home, it can be hard to tell where your house ends and you begin. As we open the door to welcome Elijah, try meditating on “The Poem Without an End” by Yehuda Amichai, selected for the #JArtsLiberty project last spring.

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To accompany your fourth glass of wine, make praise and prayer with this interpretation of “Make Our Garden Grow” by The Lonely Heartstring Band from the JArts “Bernstein Reimagined” 100th centennial concert last May.

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The seder is done; it’s time to let loose! Sing along to “Di Tsigele (One Little Goat),” a rocking Yiddish version of “Chad Gadya” by Book of J performers at the 2018 JArts Hanukkah at the MFA.

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