Good Yuntif from Rabbi Arnowitz

Good Yuntif WJC Family,

Tami and I have been leading seders at our home for over twenty years. Even so, each year I feel some anxiety as the beginning of seder approaches that I have forgotten something. When it has been a year (or more) since running a seder in your home, it is easy to overlook something. 

This year we will all be in our own homes for the seder. Even if you are a participant in a Zoom or FaceTime or GoogleHangOut seder with friends, family or community, you will still need to set up your own table. Our seder experience will be much improved if we show up online with the right resources at our table. Below you will find a basic list of what each person should have at their seder table.*
Two more things to prepare for the holiday are included in the list below: 1) this year we have the opportunity (or requirement) to make an eruv tavshilin which allows us to cook for Shabbat on Friday, so I included a link for that as well. 2) it is a tradition to give tzedakah before Passover starts. I’ve included a few suggestions for appropriate places to give this year (thank you to SOJAC for all of their help finding these great opportunities for timely giving) and we have made a donation to each of these on behalf of the congregation as well.

For the seder table:

a. Haggadah – downloadable free haggadot available here.

b. A seder plate – Have one? Great. Don’t have one? Making one is easy:
Six places for:

1. Carpas – something green (or boiled potatoes)
2. Maror – bitter herbs**
3. Hazeret – more bitter herbs**
4. Zeroa – Shankbone
5. Beitzah – roasted egg
6. Haroset – mixture of apples, wine, and nuts, chopped up like mortar



c. Kiddush cup

d. Bowl of saltwater – for dipping the Carpas

e. Elijah’s cup – have one? Great Don’t have one? Make or dedicate one.

f. Matzah – at least three pieces set aside for the seder service

g. Bowl and pitcher for hand washing (twice)

h. Afikomen bag

i. Pillow

j. Planning!


Additional Preparations:

k. Eruv Tavshilin – Because this year the first two days of Passover go right into Shabbat, there is a custom to set up an eruv tavshilin, which allows us to cook for Shabbat on Friday afternoon. For guidance on setting up an eruv tavshilin, click here

l. Maot Hittin – Traditionally we give tzedakah before the holiday starts to make sure Jewish people have access to matzah. This year I think it would also be appropriate to give to tzedakah organizations addressing the effects of the pandemic – here is a list of such organizations and links for donating:

1) Project Ezra sends meals and Passover food to local Jews living in poverty
2) We Will Provide is sending meals to hospital staff from local restaurants supporting the restaurants and the heroic hospital staff
3) Neighbors For Refugees has hired five refugees living in Westchester to sew masks. They are in need of fabric donations (old clothes) and financial support. Financial donations can be made at: To donate clothes please contact Holly Fink at
4) WJC, of course! You can always support the shul – our volunteers have worked tirelessly shopping for congregants anxious about leaving their homes and has provided Passover food for many families considered high-risk from the coronavirus.

m. Emergency Contact – Lastly, if you need emergency support (such as being added to a mishaberach list or time-sensitive advice) during the three-day yom tov (Thursday-Saturday) please contact Rabbi Arnowitz at 609-923-7518.

Wishing you a meaningful, safe and happy Passover,

* meal not included.
**If, because of the pandemic, you are having trouble finding horseradish alternatives are anything that will make you tear up when you eat it raw, such as:  hot peppers, fresh ginger, mustard greens, raw lemon.


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