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Добро пожаловать, друзья! Chag Pesach Sameach!

Welcome to the First Annual Russian Jewish Columbus Celebrate Freedom Seder! On this day, as Russian-speaking Jewish Americans with a very special history and identity, we commemorate the Exodus of Jews out of the USSR and reflect on our own personal Freedoms, whatever they are for each one of us.

This Seder, which means the order of this festive meal, will takes us in order from slavery to freedom!

On the opposite page you will see a handy diagram of the symbolic items on the Seder plate for your reference. We will address their significance throughout the Seder.

Whether you are a Seder pro or a Passover rookie, I hope that you will find this experience meaningful and enjoyable.

During the Seder it is customary to sit in a relaxed position to symbolize our status as free people.

If during the Seder, you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Thanks to...

Today's Passover Seder is generously made possible through a partnership initiative between the Jewish Federation of Columbus and Genesis Philanthropy Group.


Pour the first glass of wine (don't drink yet!)

Over the course of the Seder we drink 4 cups of wine. This is traditionally done to commemorate the promises G-d made to the people of Israel in Exodus 6:7-6 to free them from slavery in Egypt, to redeem them, to take them as His people, and to be their G-d.

The beginning of all journeys is separation. You’ve got to leave somewhere to go somewhere else. It is also the first step towards freedom: You ignore the voice of Pharaoh inside that mocks you, saying, “Who are you to begin such a journey?” You just get up and walk out.

The wine helps us separate ourselves from the worries of the everyday life so that we can put ourselves in a special space. It's special because we're remembering our ancestors, it's special because we're saying the same words they have said for thousands of years, and it's special because we're here together today.

That is why we now saw the blessing over the wine, which has two meanings: to transcend the mundane world, and to sanctify our time together so that we can put introduce higher purpose into everything we do.

Baruch atah Adonai, Elohenu Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.

( Blessed are You, Our G-d, Ruler of the world, Creator of the fruit of the vine. )

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

(Blessed are You, Our G-d, Ruler, Sovereign of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.)

Drink the first glass of wine!


Urchatz, or washing of hands, also allows us to separate this special evening from the worries of the every day.

Those who wish may wash their hands at the sink at this point. Instructions are there.


We begin the Seder by eating the karpas, a fresh green sprig. With it, we ingest the resolute force of new life.

We dip the karpas in salt water to commemorate the tears that the Jews cried when enslaved in Egypt.

So, dipping the karpas in the salt water suggests the possibility of growth and renewal even in the midst of difficult times.

Stories of Soviet Jews keeping forbidden Jewish traditions and culture alive during Soviet repression exemplify this. Learning and teaching Hebrew (see photograph), putting on Purimspiels, secretly organizing Shabbat and actively participating in the underground movement of samizdat, illegally publishing both religious and secular Jewish literature despite the threat and sometimes reality of imprisonment or worse.

In these ways, even in the midst of oppression, these Soviet Jews kept seeds of their culture alive.

Although Soviet Jewish history is certainly full of suffering both under the Russian Empire and during the Soviet Union, we are now blessed to have the freedom to celebrate our identity and the opportunity to participate in a re-birth of Jewish life.

Source : Rabbi Michael Lerner

Break the middle matzah on the matzah plate. This is called the Yachatz --literally-- the breaking.

We break the matzah and hide one part (the Afikomen). We recognize that liberation is made by imperfect people, broken, fragmented — so don’t be waiting until you are totally pure, holy, spiritually centered, and psychologically healthy to get involved in tikkun (the healing and repair of the world). It will be imperfect people, wounded healers, who do the healing as we simultaneously work on ourselves.

-Rabbi Michael Lerner

Let me tell you a story about Matzah in suitcases.

In the words of the great Rabbi Kelly Clarkson, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."

What do you think?

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

-- Four Questions

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights we eat chametz* and matzah, and on this night only matzah

On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only maror*

On all other nights, we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.

On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline

*leavened products.

* bitter herbs

-- Four Questions
Source : Unknown

מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה,

-הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת,

 - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת,

- הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין,

 - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻבִּין

-- Four Questions

Чем отличается эта ночь от других ночей?

Почему во все ночи мы можем есть и хамец, и мацу, а в эту ночь только мацу?

Почему во все ночи мы едим разную зелень, а в эту ночь – горькую зелень?

Почему во все ночи мы не обмакиваем еду, в эту ночь обмакиваем дважды – карпас в соленую воду и марор в харосет?

Почему во все другие ночи мы можем есть и сидя прямо и облокотившись, а в эту ночь все мы едим облокотившись?

-- Exodus Story
Source : Center for Jewish History Archives
American Soviet Jewry Movement Advertisement

Photo by Center for Jewish History, NYC on Flickr

-- Exodus Story
Your Personal Exodus

What's your personal exodus story?

It might be about your family leaving the Soviet Union.

It might be about something else entirely.

-- Ten Plagues

Many Egyptians perished, and their suffering was great. Each time a plague appeared, Pharaoh agreed to let the Jews go. But each time the plague vanished, Pharaoh relented.

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

Finally, amidst great sorrowing over the death of his first-born, Pharaoh ordered Moses to take his people out of the land. And Moses did, and the people arose from the midst of their oppressors, and fled from their bondage. As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayeinu reminds that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large.

In the song we also remember that besides escaping slavery from Egypt, the Jews have survived many, many times against all odds!

As Jews from the former Soviet Union, we are no strangers to resilience. Just talk to anyone of our grandparents' generation!

Verse 1

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

(If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough !)

Day, day, -einu, day, day, -einu, Day, day, -einu, Dayeinu Dayeinu (Dayeinu!)

Day, day, -einu, day, day, -einu, Day, day, -einu, Dayeinu Dayeinu!

(That would have been enough!)

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

(If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough )

Day, day, -einu, day, day, -einu, Day, day, -einu, Dayeinu Dayeinu (Dayeinu!)

Day, day, -einu, day, day, -einu, Day, day, -einu, Dayeinu Dayeinu!

(That would have been enough!)

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Haggadah

עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and G-d took us from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Had G-d not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren would still be slaves.

Even if we were all wise, knowledgeable scholars and Torah experts, we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom G-d redeemed; G-d redeemed us too along with them, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs.

May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

Drink the second glass of wine!

Source :

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.

Source : Pardes/Jewish Boston

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror |מָרוֹר In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset.

Another interpretation: "I believe that our use of maror at the seder is less about experiencing the hardships of Egypt, but rather an opportunity to experience and reflect how we can meaningfully engage sorrow and pain in both our personal and national lives. Suffering and sadness are part of everyone’s story [...] We need tools and opportunities to integrate the hard and painful parts of our lives into our story without allowing them to erase all the joy and gratitude we still want to experience."

Source :

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.


בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise G-d, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!


Pour yourself a fourth cup of wine!

At this point we 1) fill a cup for Elijah and 2) open the door to let him in. Tradition holds that when he returns, he will bring an era of peace throughout the world. Let's drink our last cup of wine to Elijah!

Drink the fourth cup of wine!

Source : Rav Ilana

«Отпусти народ мой!» - кричал Моисей фараону. Для убеждения понадобились различные чудеса, которые дорого обошлись египтянам: 10 казней (одна из которых смерть первенцев), чудесное рассечение вод Красного моря (когда погиб фараон и его армия) и т.д. И, наконец, свершилось! Мы свободны!

"Let my people go!" Moses shouted to the pharaoh. Convincing him required various miracles that cost the Egyptians: 10 plagues (the death of the firstborn among them), the parting of the Red sea (when the pharaoh and his army drowned), etc. And finally, it happened! We're free!

Мало кто из нас знает и помнит, что двадцать пять лет назад, 6 декабря 1987 года в Вашингтоне, накануне встречи в верхах Михаила Горбачева и президента Рейгана, 250 тысяч человек вышли на улицу, чтобы выразить солидарность с евреями Советского Союза. Американские собратья требовали положить конец принудительной ассимиляции советских евреев и позволить им свободно эмигрировать из СССР. «Отпусти народ мой!» - с новой силой опять грянуло на всех языках! Наряду с гражданами Америки, в митинге участвовали израильтяне, граждане Латинской Америки и другие. Были там и политики, и раввины, и священники, и бывшие «отказники», и другие сочувствующие. "Отпусти мой народ!" зазвучало опять на разных языках.

Few of us know and remember, that 25 years ago, on December 6, 1987 in Washington, D.C., on the eve of a historic meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and President Reagan, 250,000 people went out into the streets to express solidarity with the Jews of the Soviet Union. The fellow American Jews demanded that an end be put to the forcible assimilation of Soviet Jews and that they be allowed to freely emigrate from the USSR. "Let my people go" rang out once more in many different languages!

Но «свобода» налагает на нас другой вид ответственности. Ответственность за наших детей и внуков, за следующее поколение нашего народа. Получив свободу быть евреями, не стесняясь и не волнуясь за свою личную безопасность, мы также получили возможность свободно приобретать знания о нашей религии и традициях, а также передавать их следующим поколениям.

But "freedom" places a different kind of responsibility on us. A responsibility for our children and grandchildren, for the next generation of our people. Having received the freedom to be Jews without shame or fear for our personal freedom, we also received the opportunity to freely acquire knowledge about our religion and traditions, and pass it down to the next generations.

-Рав Илана Бeрд (Rabbi Ilana Baird).

Source : RuJew Columbus

This marks the end of our Seder together, but the beginning of a new year full of possibilities.

Now let's say together, according to ancient tradition...

לשנה הבאה בירושלים

L'shana haba-ah biy-y-rushalayiyim


Спасибо! Thank you all so much for spending your second night of Passover at the inaugural seder of Russian Jewish Columbus.

RuJew Columbus is the local community of Jewish young professionals with origins in the former Soviet Union, ages 21-40.

If you have any questions about RuJew Columbus, please do not hesitate to e-mail me at [email protected]

Commentary / Readings
Source :

When the war ended, a new strain of anti-Semitism rose up. The secret police would station themselves outside synagogues to intimidate people, says Jeffrey Veidlinger, a professor of Judaic studies and history at the University of Michigan.

“You might not be thrown in jail, but your life would be made difficult,” he says, “so Jewish practice mostly moved into the home.”

And that included the making of matzah, the flat, dry crackers that Jewish people eat to commemorate the eight days of Passover.

“If you were Jewish, you definitely didn’t have all the privileges of everybody else,” says Vitaly Paley, a restaurant owner in Portland who was born in the Soviet city of Gomel, now in Belarus. “People feared for their safety if they were to practice religion, but they managed to retain their food traditions, and through food, they retained that religious practice.”

Slava Frumkin, who was born in the Smolensk region in the Soviet Union, says Jewish people there generally didn’t hold Seders, the traditional Passover meal.

“That’s why it was important to have matzah,” he says.

“Matzah became embedded within Jewish identity,” says Veidlinger. “In 1956, they cracked down a bit and explicitly forbade the baking of matzah inside synagogues. And there were homes that, every year, kind of turned into makeshift bakeries around Passover.”

“In our area,” says Frumkin, “it was one home, and we would deliver the flour to the home. It was like a well-oiled machine — all the family members running and doing different things. But no matter what, in one hour you would get your matzahs."

“By some reason, everybody used pillowcases, stacking this matzahs in the pillowcases. Then we would bring it home, and we had a special suitcase.”

Paley says it was important the suitcase stayed closed until the family brought it into their home. "[They] would bring it in and open it up, and there would be this wad of matzah in there. The matzah was well hidden from anybody else that could see it, for sure.”

“You have to understand,” Frumkin says. “It was, like, a sense of secrecy around this, and it was filling to some degree with some pride, your heart. You’re doing something secretly what the government doesn’t want.”

Veidlinger says the secrecy heightened the importance of the holiday. “If they had just allowed the factories to make matzah, people could have just gone to purchase matzah,” he says.

That’s what they did when they left the Soviet Union and crossed into the free world, Paley says. “If we wanted matzah, we could just buy it openly and eat it on the street. I mean, how cool was that? For the Jewish people, once we traveled here, we could practice our religion in peace and harmony — and matzah is the symbol of that.”

But “when you have plenty freedom, and you have plenty matzah, and everything is plentiful, the value is somewhat different,” Frumkin says. “When you have to work for this, it changes the taste to some degree. To me, it was always a treat. I loved matzah.”

Commentary / Readings
Source : Unkosher Market
The Real 4 Questions

The Whole Entire World...

Весь огромный мир- очень узкий мост

Ves' ogromnyj mir- ochen' uzkij most

Очень узкий мост

Ochen' uzkij most

Очень узкий мост

Ochen' uzkij most

Весь огромный мир- очень узкий мост

Ves' ogromnyj mir- ochen' uzkij most

Очень узкий мост

Ochen' uzkij most

Очень узкий мост

Ochen' uzkij most

Очень важно, очень важно

Ochen' vazhno, ochen' vazhNO!

Не бояться, не бояться

Ne boyat'sa, ne boya-at'sa!

Очень важно, очень важно

Ochen' vazhno, ochen' vazhNO!

Не бояться!

Ne boyat'sya!

(Painting: Russian-speaking Jewish artist Marc Chagall, Dove, 1937)