Dear Congregation Beth Israel community,

Now that Purim is behind us, it’s one lunar month until Passover. After three long years, we will once again hold a Second Night Community Seder at CBI on Thursday, April 6 at 6pm. As always, this will be a family-friendly seder featuring roles for children of all ages, lots of music for everyone, finding new meaning in ancient stories, and also great food!

The Board is hard at work planning the logistics of the seder. Meanwhile I’m preparing the ritual part of the “ritual meal,” from songs to poems to the symbolic items that evoke our people’s core story, the journey from slavery to freedom. Pesach is always a time of memory and meaning. This year I expect an extra spiritual uplift to come from our renewed togetherness.

I know that many of us have fond memories of CBI’s previous seders — stirring readings, familiar melodies, our teacher and storyteller Jane Shiyah leading the kids in acting out the story, Jen Burt’s fabulous catering. Others among us have never experienced our seder except on Zoom. I can’t wait to share a lively and meaningful seder with all of you.

In order to move forward with the seder, we need at least 25 registrations. We need to have your reservation by Friday, March 24. This allows us to order the right amount of food (kosher chicken and kosher for Passover groceries are in short supply in our area, and require advance planning). Please RSVP as soon as possible, and by Friday, March 24 at the latest.

☆ Tickets are $45 per adult and $10 per child (ages 6-18); tickets for children ages 5 or under are free.

Tickets must be paid for in full prior to the day of the event. Payments can be made in one of the following ways:

  • Online via PayPal — just select “Special Events” from the drop-down list and add a note that your payment is for seder tickets. Though our online payments are processed via PayPal, you do not need a PayPal account in order to pay online; to pay with a credit or debit card, choose the “Donate with Debit or Credit Card” option when prompted. (Please note that we are not able to process credit or debit card payments by phone or in person.)
  • By check via mail to Congregation Beth Israel at 53 Lois Street, North Adams, MA 01247. Please make sure that your check is made payable to Congregation Beth Israel and note in the memo line that your payment is for seder tickets.

In the event that we do not reach 25 reservations by the RSVP deadline, all tickets will be refunded.


As always, if the cost of registration is prohibitive, let me know.

We’ve heard from some of you that you’re not ready to dine in a room full of people, or that you need to limit immune system risks. Those are among the reasons why most of our programs are multi-access (both onsite and online). That said, this seder will work best as an onsite-only experience where we sing, laugh, and dine together at CBI. Thank you for your understanding.

(If you’re in need of a Zoom second-night seder, reach out to me and I will do my best to connect you with one.)

I hope you’ll join us in just under four weeks for our second night community seder here in our very own building — the first since the pandemic began. Here’s to the season of our liberation!

Blessings to all,

— Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

A Few Pesach Resources

On the night before seder, there’s a tradition of hiding some leaven around your home and then ritually “finding” it and burning it in the morning. Fun for all ages! Here’s a piece from Rabbi Rachel about how to do that.

Do you want to try “keeping the Pesach” this year? Here’s a column from Rabbi Rachel about different ways to do that.

Do you like contemplative coloring books? Pick up Color the Omer, which R. Rachel edited for publication, and bring creativity and visual beauty to your Omer count this year.