Having a Virtual 2 for Seder? See our Virtual Resources Page for ideas, downloads and inspirations!
2 for Seder is a special program. When Joyce Fienberg, my mother-in-law, was murdered at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, I felt that there was so much emphasis from the reporters on how she died or basic facts of her life. I don’t mourn her death, I deeply miss her in my everyday life. When I spoke to people at the Shiva and afterwards, strangers from all walks of life wanted to know about who she was. What made her special? Joyce was a deeply caring person who wanted everyone to get along. She would work extremely hard (and I got to help) to make sure each individual who joined us at a holiday table was comfortable, relaxed and happy regardless of the food restrictions or different traditions they might have. She brought people together and they never forgot it.
2 for Seder is held in Joyce’s loving spirit. Bring 2 people to their first Seder at your house (or on your Zoom) and it will be a unique Jewish experience that they will never forget. It provides a natural counterweight to the stereotypes and tropes that relentlessly follow Jews.
During the “How to Host a Virtual 2 for Seder” events this year, co-founder Lauren Kline and I have received questions that you may also have about 2 for Seder. I’d like to address them here and encourage you to participate in 2 for Seder in any way that makes you comfortable.
How does a dinner invitation fight back against anti-Semitism?
This year, we will be talking about the concept of casual anti-Semitism, where it’s becoming socially acceptable (again) to make jokes or insult people because they are Jewish or someone who isn’t Jewish exhibiting “Jewish stereotypical” actions. Personally, I feel this is the type of humor that people who aren’t actually funny rely on to get attention.
2 for Seder helps fight back against this trend. Providing a first-time, immersive Jewish experience at the Seder provides a powerful counterweight. We have story after story about this impact. Your openness makes a difference.
Joyce was killed for being Jewish. Our goal is to reduce anti-Semitism and the potential for its growth. Seder is not only beloved and practiced by most North American Jews, but it is intended for and accessible to someone hearing the story for the first time. You don’t need to create anything new or special, it’s all right there for you. It’s a joyous Jewish occasion that can be shared and will be remembered.
Why invite two people?
2 for Seder asks everyone involved to step a little out of their comfort zone. For your guests, it’s always easier to try something new with a partner or friend!
My friend and co-founder Lauren are a great example. Together we can do anything – even try to tackle anti-Semitism.
Who should I invite?
Your best friends have (hopefully) been to your Seder at least once! Take a look at your outer circles of friends, acquaintances and neighbors. The key is inviting someone who has never been to a Passover Seder to provide that initial immersive experience.
How to approach and then invite interfaith people
This is an interesting question. It assumes that in our secular society a religious invitation will not be well received. In fact, many people respect religion and are interested in finding our commonalities. It is also a sign of respect and trust to invite someone to interact with your family in such an intimate way.
When you are planning to reach out, think about their background. If they are coming from an Abrahamic-based religion (such as Christianity or Islam), they may have learned about the Seder as part of their own tradition. Asking them if they would like to experience a Seder to learn about the Jewish perspective and deepen their religious heritage may be very appealing. If they are coming from an Asian religion, this may be of general interest to learn about a new culture.
I’m completely exhausted from COVID! Why are you encouraging 2 for Seder this year instead of taking a break?
Anti-Semitism is not taking a break during COVID, in fact, incidents are rising slightly. We don’t have the luxury of taking the year off. Every person who changes their mind about casual hate towards Jews is a win for peace.
As our country experiences hate and violence, we may feel helpless. Connecting with people and welcoming them to our Passover Seder is something that we can do and it has a powerful impact.
As we learned last year, the “silver lining” of a virtual Seder is that it’s easy to add people to your virtual Seder. A small effort creates a big mitzvah (good deed).