Why Now?

Joyce Fienberg

Joyce Fienberg

Hate crimes are rising across America. According to the FBI, more than half of the religion-based hate crimes are directed against Jews and Jewish institution. This impacted our Founders personally, when Joyce Fienberg was murdered for praying as a Jew at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. 

2 for Seder was created to help all those who feel helpless in the face of hate and want to make a direct, personal impact. 

We all ask – how can I help prevent this from happening again? What can I do?

2 for Seder Addresses Ignorance at the Grassroots Level

How can we fight as individuals anti-Semitism?  Many programs today are focused on the suppression of hateful speech and acts, 2 for Seder complements these with a wide, grassroots effort focused on a positive Jewish experience. 

To truly change hearts and minds, we must build trust between individuals – this is the focus for 2 for Seder.  Bari Weiss, author of “How to Fight Anti-Semitism” recommends multiple ways that we build trust through actively cultivating these interfaith-focused relationships.  In her book “Antisemitism” Deborah Lippstadt conducts a discussion with a professor who is not Jewish– she deeply values this conversation because “We [Jews] cherish people like you who have stood by our side not out of pity or guilt, but because hatred in all its forms is something you cannot abide and because you recognize antisemitism is a threat to the well-being of any just and democratic society.”  These experts and others point toward grassroots/interpersonal relationships as a critical key to fighting anti-Semitism. 

Interfaith experiences, as shown by the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), directly impact these attitudes.  Direct, positive participation in any new religious experience, impacts the individual in a profound manner.  The new experience creates both relationships and direct, firsthand knowledge.  In turn, this improves attitudes, not only toward the individual but the entire religion – IFYC reports this impact as an improvement of 20-30%.  That’s for a single experience.  Picture this repeated across the United States and Canada for more than 50,000 individuals each year. 

We can truly push back on anti-Semitism with love and matzah.

2 for Seder

2 for Seder is an immediate step we can take together. Simply invite two people who have never attended a Seder to your Seder at home. For me, Seder is the heart of who we are as Jews. It’s replete with a miracle-filled structured journey, the chaos of people questioning and debating, and topped off with so much delicious food that you wish you were wearing sweatpants. Opening your Seder to newcomers directly addresses biased attitudes and general ignorance – the seed of all anti-semitism. Start a dialogue and create a ripple-effect to enrich our shared American and Canadian experience.

If you are participating in a Seder for the first time, hold onto your seat! You will be a seamless part of that wonderful structure and chaos. Your participation helps all guests relive the wonder of the Seder for the first time, seeing our journey anew. Your participation is a true insight into the soul of Judaism and your participation will help us all see that soul in a fresh, wonderful light. Your participation honors all of us. Did I mention the sweatpants?

As for me, I hosted Seder for the past 12 years with Joyce. It took years for us to become a seamless team, holding a Seder for 20-25 people each year. 2 for Seder is held in honor of her memory. If you can participate, as Host or Guest, know that you are connected to Pittsburgh through bonds of love and matzah. Raise a glass to all our fallen and never forget.

—Marnie Fienberg, February 2019

2 for Seder | Pittsburg Interfaith Evolution