Pesach 5781

Painting: "Passover (Redemption)" by Karin Foreman

Shabbat HaGadol
- Friday, March 26, Kabbalat Shabbat, 6:30pm
- Saturday/Shabbat, March 27, Liberal Minyan, 9:30am

CBST First Night Community Passover Seder 5781
Saturday/Shabbat, March 27, 7:30pm
Dial in by phone: 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 891 6485 8371
Register here >>
Contribute in support of CBST's online Seder
led by our clergy team. Click here >>

Second Night Seder
Sunday, March 28
There are many ways to observe the second night of Passover!
- CBST members seeking an online Zoom Seder to attend within the community, or CBST members who are hosting a Zoom seder and are open to inviting others, can email to make a connection!
- “Out at the J,” the JCC Manhattan's Second Night Seder online, is open to all!
Register >>
- Looking to hold your own Second Night Seder?
Check out for resources, and even micro-grants!

Chol HaMoed Pesach
Wednesday, March 31 - Trans Day of Visibility 
Trans Jews Are Here Convening and Allyship Track
Learn more and register >>

Shabbat Pesach
Friday, April 2, Kabbalat Chag, 6:30pm
Saturday/Shabbat, April 3, Shabbat Pesach Yom Tov, 9:30am

Pesach Yom Tov and Yizkor Service
Sunday, April 4, 9:30am
Dial in by phone: 646 876 9923
Meeting ID: 824 4976 1897

Families with Kids

Family Seder: K'ilu Passover Adventure (families with kids 3-8)
Longtime CBST member, Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, creator of Aggadah Adventures, has a new project—K’ilu Passover Adventure! You can choose this experience OFFLINE as a family or ONLINE with other families on Zoom. To get your kit now, just email with your name with the names and ages of your children. We’ll send you the link and password to access everything immediately.

OFFLINE SEDER with your family at home
At your convenience, anytime free of charge

The K’ilu Passover Adventure, is an interactive, audio and play-based experience to bring the Passover story to life with your family. Kids can find household items on a scavenger hunt, follow the cutout Moses basket puppet on the printable story map, make a burning bush paper lantern. They can even lead the Seder with a super short and accurate printable Haggadah!

ONLINE SEDER with other families on Zoom
Saturday/Shabbat, March 27, 9:00-9:45 am
Some grownup help needed. Free of charge.

This online Seder is appropriate for kids who like to dance and pretend, might fall asleep before the evening Seder is over, and might run around or ignore your Zoom Seder!

Passover Escape Room & Puzzle Experience: Exodus from Reality (Kids 10-18 and their families)
Sunday, March 28, 1:00–2:00 pm, Free of charge

Your journey begins in Egypt thousands of years ago and your team must work together to solve all the puzzles, clues, games and hints to complete the Exodus before time runs out. Make your own team of 3-5 people or we can match you! *Teams with kids ages 10-13 need an adult nearby to lend a hand or be on the team. To register, send all names and ages of participants by March 24th to

The Aggadah of the Haggadah - Daily Passover Activities and Challenges (Ages 2-7)
Monday, March 29 - Friday, April 2
Every day starting on Monday, we'll help kids and their grownups bring the Passover story to life at home. CBST's Aggadah Actors will release daily video clips with activities and challenges designed for young children and their grownups (or just invite the whole family!). Work on one challenge each day: Baby in the Basket, Burning Bush, Down the Nile, Let My People Go!, and The Sea.

Watch the Full Story - Down The Nile: A Passover Aggadah Adventure (Ages 2-7)
Wednesday, March 31

A basket carrying a baby floats down the Nile River…where is it going, and who will the baby become? Travel down the Nile, across Egypt, and through the Red Sea with us as CBST's Aggadah Actors will bring the theater experience to your home with interactive content and more challenges. Watch on Wed>>

Pesach Cooking Class with Jeffrey Miller and Rabbi Yael Rapport
Monday, March 15, 6:00-7:00pm
Savory or sweet, follow along as we make and learn about Pesach treats! Register to be sent ingredient list and Zoom information and make your own matzah ball soup (veggie options included!) and charoset recipes from around the world! Register >> and view the recipes for Jewish Italian Wedding Soup, Stuffed Cabbage, and Charoseth.

Get Your Passover Haggadah for CBST's Annual First Night Seder
Prayers and readings will be screen-shared, but we encourage Seder participants to follow along in their own Haggadah as part of “the people of the book”—it really transforms the experience! In one attractive, beautifully illustrated volume are the traditional prayers, biblical texts, historical notes, song lyrics and a play for children to perform. Get yours here >>

One Mitzvah Leads to Another: Sell Your Chametz
Halachah (Jewish law) prohibits eating chametz (leaven) during Pesach and also forbids us to even own chametz. Our tradition provides a legal procedure: you can sell your chametz and, an hour after after Passover concludes, you can "buy" it back (without actual delivery or pick-up). This year, Rabbi Rapport will serve as your "Chametz Agent." There is no fee—you can make a contribution (maot chittim) HERE.

Bringing Your Seder Home
Whether taking a seat at CBST's virtual table, or opening the Haggadah with those who share your home, get an introduction and some advice about the order of events here.

Set Up Your Seder Plate
Discover the classic symbolism of the items on our seder plates (or their creative alternatives!) and consider the addition of a symbol that represents a contemporary struggle for social justice equity with this short article by T'ruah's Executive Director, Rabbi Jill Jacobs, or this interview featuring CBST's own Director of Social Justice Programming, Rabbi Marisa James.               

Get Ethically Sourced Passover Chocolate
Celebrate our liberation from slavery with chocolate guaranteed to come from companies that do not engage in child labor, slave labor, or other human rights abuses endemic to the chocolate industry. A collaboration between Equal Exchange and T'ruah.

A Passover Teaching

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz, CBST's Scholar-in-Residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies

At its best, the Passover Seder can model the values it celebrates—freedom from slavery and oppression—by disrupting habitual hierarchies and bolstering inclusivity. Unfortunately, sometimes our attempts to honor this sacred mission fall short.

At its worst, the festive meal celebrating freedom can deepen the very divisions it seeks to heal. This year the world has been disrupted in very personal ways for all of us. This year is different from all other years.

When we become free, we need to find a new language to express that freedom. God uses four different terms of redemption (Exodus 6:6-7) to articulate the exodus from Egyptian bondage. Many celebrate this liberation of language by drinking four cups of wine at the seder.

It is often difficult to identify the appropriate language to capture a reordering of society. The freedoms that LGBTQ folks have achieved are all relatively recent and the language that society uses to support these experiences are quickly changing, evolving, and approaching a more accurate representation, but there is still a lot of work left to be done.

We celebrate new liberties with the understanding that words limit and are never as expansive as the experiences they are intended to describe. What they mean can be highly context specific.

A few years ago, I overheard a child say to his lesbian mother, “My friend says that when two guys like each other that means that they are gay. I know that you are gay, does that also mean that you are also a guy?”

Even more limiting than the words themselves are the construction of societal norms and definitions that accompany labels and identities. For example, if one partner in a heterosexual couple transitions, the cis partner may wonder if or how this affects their sexual orientation. A person who is bisexual may question whether committing to one exclusive partner, either male or female, conceals their identity. Gender queer folks everywhere are failed by binary pronouns and assumptions.

Feeling bound by inadequate language, just like being constrained by outdated social constructs, impedes our ability to understand and to be understood. People are obviously much more than the words that are used to represent them. Part of the struggle is that the world long ago established what is different by what is perceived as typical.

The first of the four Passover seder questions begins: “Why is this night different from all other nights? In response we learn that “on all other nights we eat chametz and matzah, but on this night only matza.” This assumes the norm that “on all other nights we eat chametz and matzah” when really the question being asked is “why on Passover must one only eat matzah”? Part of their ordering (סדר) is questioning the questions we ask and challenging the givens we are given: do we really eat chametz and matzah on all other nights? Are there really four questions?

In the verse in which God commands Moshe and Aaron about the Passover sacrifice (Exodus12:43), the midrash quotes, “The heart alone knows its bitterness, and no outsider can share in its joy" (Proverbs 14:10). The Meir Einei Chachamim elaborates and explains that only someone who has a heart can feel the bitterness of the soul when it is enslaved, and its elation, when it is released. It is a time to bolster the dominant expression of our hearts and discover language to support the expansiveness of love.

Now, like then, language needs to be freed from the narrow constriction that confines it. With greater equality comes new opportunities and the accompanying learning curve that takes time to explore how, and what is possible, to be. Accurate descriptions and expressions of those newfound roles and identities takes even longer to manifest in verbal expression.

When we transcend the constraints of superficial labels, we will finally be able to better fulfill the mitzvah of the Haggadah; to truly tell over the story of our redemption.

Learn more about Rabbi Moskowitz >>