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Equality Celebrated at Temple Tikvah’s Women’s Seder

Women and children gathered on Sunday at Temple Tikvah's Women's Seder.

Although Passover does not begin until April 11, the third annual Sisterhood Passover Seder was held on Sunday to give the women who expect to be cooking during the real Seder a chance to be together.

Rabbi Randy Sheinberg says this is a special opportunity to have a Seder to celebrate women and hear their voices.

“We all have our own families but the temple is a family too,” she said. “This is a time to come together and talk about women’s roles in Judaism.”

The celebration of a women’s Seder is unique because it is a time “to focus on equality, Sheinberg said. At this Seder, there was a feminine twist on the Passover story by recognizing women such as Miriam, the prophetess. Sheinberg changed the language for the prayers to honor and celebrate women’s roles.

“Passover is about freedom, after an ongoing struggle for rights we can acknowledge how far we’ve come,” she said.

Together the women joined cantor Judy Naimark to sing songs and dance in celebration. Women took turns reading aloud the story of a timeless journey. Children were given the opportunity to sing Ma Nishtana or The Four Questions. It is part of the tradition for the youngest children to say the Four Questions.

Julia Senise was one of the girls who sang songs and recited the four questions. Being at the Seder made her feel a sense of goodness.

In addition to the traditional items there was also an orange on the Seder plate. An orange is supposed to be a symbol of liberation and freedom. Nearly 25 years ago, Professor Susannah Heschel spoke at a synagogue in Florida about the emerging equality of women in Jewish life. At the end of her presentation, a man shouted out a comparison, that a woman speaking in the front of a service is like having bread on the Seder plate. The presence of an orange on the Seder plate is to symbolize women’s contributions to Jewish scholarship and leadership.

The message is about being together Sheinberg said. 

“This is a multigenerational opportunity to spend time with friends and family and celebrate womanhood," she said.

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