Guide To Making Your Home Kosher for Passover

Updated for 2020, this handy guide has been downloaded thousands of times. Provides easy to follow and realistic goals for making your home Kosher for Passover – without compromising on Jewish law and customs.

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The 10 Minute Seder

If You Have To Rush Through The Seder — Use This Free Haggadah!


Here is the dilemma. You want to do a proper Seder, but due to the pandemic, some tired kids, or for whatever reason, you need to get the Seder done with efficiently. It’s not ideal – but it happens. The problem is that we realized is that people end up skipping essential parts of the Seder, because most Hagaddahs will not tell you what you can skip.

With this in mind I created the 10 Minute Haggadah originally in 2012. I have now updated it, and it’s a Kosher seder for those short on time.

This Haggadah is two pages long and you download it and print it out at home, or get it copied. I originally put this Hagaddah together for “Matzachella”, our Shabbat Tent Coachella Seder.

Everything that MUST be said or done at the Seder is included in The 10 Minute Seder. In addition some favorites are included like Dayeinu. Even if you will use another Haggadah, check out the Ten Minute Seder!

Here is an excerpt:

1. What’s up with the matzah? 2. What’s the deal with horseradish? 3. What’s with the dipping of the herbs? 4. What’s this whole chilling at the table business?

PARTICIPANTS SAY TOGETHER
We were slaves in Egypt. God took us out with awesome miracles. Had God not taken us out of Egypt, then what? We, and our children, and grandchildren would still be slaves in Egypt! So, even if we were all great Torah scholars, we would still have to tell about the Exodus from Egypt. The more we talk about this the better – but God I’m short on time!

LEADER
The Torah reflects upon four types of kids: One Wise, One Evil, One Simple, and One Who Doesn’t Know How To Ask. GUIDE the wise one through the obligations of Passover. TELL the Evil One, we need you to be part of our people. EXPLAIN to the Simple One, “with a strong hand God brought us out of Egypt.” ENGAGE the one who doesn’t know how to ask, make that child feel comfortable, and tell them about the Exodus.

Using Money for Kaparot

Kaparot is an ancient ritual we do in preparation for Yom Kippur. Kaparot can be done any time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. We ask God that if we were destined to be the recipients of harsh decrees in the New Year, may they be transferred to the money used in the ceremony which is destined for tzedakah, charity for those in need.

Please use money in place of electric Bird scooters or live chickens for Kaparot! Our sages long ago said that Kaparot can be done with money which is then given to tzedakah. Shana Tova, may you be blessed with a sweet, healthy and joyous New Year!

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Don’t Look the Other Way When Depression Hits

Refections on the recent suicides of Kate Spade, Avicci, and Anthony Bourdain and how we must act when depression hits

The world was shocked and saddened by the suicide of Kate Spade, a mega-designer, at age of 55 after a long battle with depression. According to her husband, Spade was “actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last five years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety…”

The immediate reactions have returned the spotlight to the real and immediate crisis that serious depression inflicts on our society. Avicci, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams…Depression not only inflicts pain on the one who bears the illness, but it also has the potential to create significant pain, strife, and damage to others.

On the community level how do we address this? If you know someone who seems down, not themselves, withdrawn – don’t look the other way or think that only the “professionals” will be able to help them. According to research, “social connectedness and support from friends, family, communities and institutions may also help people who are struggling for any reason.”

In other words, taking pills and seeing a therapist aren’t necessarily enough. It does not mean that a certain person’s suicide could be prevented with these additions, but it can help.

Judaism Prescribes Community Connections

Many people who are depressed don’t want to be around others, and will push people away. They may retreat into their own worlds making including them in LIFE so much more difficult. They also may turn to drugs to numb the pain of the depression. The self-medication is another malady that compounds the depression and makes treatment more difficult. But don’t give up on them, ever.

We are fortunate that our tradition and Torah prescribes participation in community, ample times for social connectedness, and the mitzvah to look out for one another. Additionally, our daily spiritual practices offers opportunities to strengthen our relationship with our Creator.

But still people can become derailed, feeling that their life has no real purpose, and that somehow they have failed and they may be doing the world a favor by dying, God forbid.

We must tell everyone we know that seems to be falling off the rails,  “Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful.”Throw them a life preserving phone call, house visit, lunch or coffee. Invite them to the movies, a concert, a stroll along the boardwalk. No texting – but real live connections.

God created everyone of us with an individual purpose and also also created a deep interconnectedness that transcends the individual. When someone falls into depression, it calls us to action.

Just turn on with me, and you’re not alone, 

Let’s turn on and be not alone

Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful

Gimme your hands, ’cause you’re wonderful

Oh, gimme your hands

— David Bowie, Rock n’Roll Suicide

We all have to act

The Torah teaches in Vayikra (19:16) “lo ta’amod al dam rei’echa,” do not stand idly by your fellows blood. The Talmud in Sanhderin73a teaches that if one sees someone in a life-threatening situation they have an obligation to save them.

Kate Spade’s death is tragic. She was one of the 123 Americans that kill themselves every day on average. Depression is a real and life-threatening situation that obliges us to reach out and help.

I pray for all those who are depressed to be able to feel how much God and others love them and appreciate them being in the world. And how their death would pierce our hearts and our world and leave a vacuum that cannot be filled.

And I pray that with God’s help we can prevent future tragic deaths.