This year’s Passover sermon seminar began with a fascinating presentation by Rani Jaeger, entitled, “Beyond Eating: The Challenge of Speaking across Differences at the Pesach Seder.”  Rani Jaeger is a faculty member and research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute as well as one of the founders of Beit Tefilah Israeli, a synagogue in Tel Aviv.  His presentation discussed the perspectives of the Mishnah as well as a chevruta study/discussion on Achad ha-Am’s writings about Moses.  Jaeger spoke about the challenges of the different perspectives each generation brings to the seder table and he offered strategies of how to frame the Passover story in a way that speaks to these generations.

Rani began his presentation with a statement of appreciation for the rabbis of different denominations coming together to learn and share ideas.  He expressed hope that Israeli rabbinic leadership can learn from this model of rabbinic cooperation across differences. 

For the source packet click here.

For the video click here.

After this keynote presentation, breakout sessions were led by:

Rabbi Kalman Topp, the Senior Rabbi of Beth Jacob. His presentation was entitled: “Redemption Revisited: Lessons from Pesach for our own lives.”

Rabbi Michael Barclay, of Temple Ner Simcah of Agoura Hills, entitled “The Fifth Son: Bringing the Disenfranchised Jew Back to the Seder,”

Rabbi Dalia Samansky, who teaches at the Florence Melton Adult Education School and the Jewish Baby University, led a session entitled, “The Chains that Bind Us: A Journey from Biblical Chains to Modern Chains.”

Rabbi Ilana Grinblat, Vice-President of Community Engagement for the Board of Rabbis taught a session called, “Simple and Wise: Spiritual Perspectives on Passover.”

The presentations offered many sources and much “food for thought” on our preparation for Passover.