Temple Beth Israel brings back Community Seder for Passover

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT)— There’s several religious holidays happening this weekend, including Passover. Temple Beth Israel marked the occasion by hosting their first in-person Community Seder Friday night since the pandemic began two years ago.

Now that things are returning back to normal, Rabbi Elizabeth Bahar says it was time to bring back the tradition. A Seder is a meal to remember and celebrate the Jewish holiday of Passover.

“We’re at yet another inflection point within the pandemic one where we were forced to be separated and now we can finally come together. So we’re free to celebrate that coming together and able to really interact and be present for each other,” said Bahar.

Amy Flowers attends Temple Beth Israel. She loves Passover and celebrating it with the congregation. But because of the pandemic she didn’t get to have a Seder last year, so being back in person is exciting for her.

“I’m married to a non-Jew. I don’t do this at home because it’s a lot for one person,” Flowers said. “The Seder is my favorite holiday and it should be a communal thing.”

The Seder involves re-enacting the story of Passover to remember the exodus of the Jewish people being freed from slavery in Egypt. They eat symbolic foods like matzah and bitter herbs.

Rabbi Bahar says over the years Seder plates have expanded to include oranges to honor the LGBTQ+ community. Also Miriam’s cup, or a cup filled with water, to honor women. This year they’ve added olives for peace and borsht for people in Ukraine.

“So we eat Matzah and bitter herbs and other yummy foods to remind us of our infliction,” said Bahar.

The Community Seder was just for the congregation this year. But Flowers encourages people to come to the synagogue throughout the year to learn more about Judaism.

“Come on Friday night. We’re very open and welcoming. We show people all around and tell them about the ritual things,” Flowers explained. “And then we invite them for the reception.”

Rabbi Bahar says they’re hoping to open the Community Seder to people outside of their congregation next year.

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