Passover Place Cards

We hope you download and enjoy these Passover Seder Place Cards. We are confident they will enhance and add meaning to your seder night experience.

Sample Place Card: First Cup of Wine - קדש

Sample Place Card: First Cup of Wine - קדש

First Person: Witnessing the Power of Service in Greece and Puerto Rico

By Rabbi Benji Levy

In February, prior to the launch of Shalom Corps, I joined a service trip to Lesbos, Greece, to witness the incredible work being done by our partner, IsraAID, at the Moria Refugee Camp firsthand.  

Serving as the makeshift home for more than 5,000 refugees, Moria is overcrowded and often dangerous, and the streets flow with waste and filth.  Its inhabitants come from some of the most dangerous places in the world, including Afghanistan, Syria and The People’s Democratic Republic of the Congo, and huddle in tents, often waiting months to receive asylum on the mainland where their lives can finally start anew.  

Upon my arrival, a frigid wind blew down a family’s tent, their only shelter.  In solidarity, a crowd of people braved the cold to help the family repair the tent.  The scene was simultaneously beautiful, inspiring and heartbreaking. 

Soon thereafter, I was led into a classroom at the School for Peace filled with young children of different nationalities.  Though they all lived in this seemingly hopeless situation, I was astonished to see that their faces were filled with hope.  When I asked who among them loved school, all of their hands shot up. They were simply delighted to have the opportunity to receive an education and were eager to talk and listen. 

Their ability to remain focused and excited about learning while living in one of the most miserable places on earth made it clear to me that it is possible to break the cycle of poverty and make a difference no matter how dire the circumstances.  In my many years as an educator, I had never seen such a rundown facility – but then I had never seen that kind of passion for education either.

Service experiences challenge us to see the world differently.  An economic downturn or natural disaster can be the difference between relative prosperity and poverty.  The simplest necessities can be taken from us in the blink of an eye.  

In 2017, Puerto Rico was ravaged by Hurricane Maria, which tore through the island and destroyed much of its infrastructure.  As of this writing, it has still not been fully restored.  Most notably, clean drinking water and electricity are not readily available.  On another IsraAID service tour to Puerto Rico, I was struck by how I had never really considered what life would be like without these “luxuries.”  

Thankfully, devoted volunteers have stepped forward to build a filtering system to provide safe drinking water for residents impacted by the hurricane.  Some of the IsraAID volunteers studied water and agriculture in the deserts of Israel and are using what they learned in places like Puerto Rico that are struggling with water scarcity issues.  In our efforts to “make the desert bloom,” we have developed technologies that can save countless lives around the world. 

I returned from these two humbling and enlightening service experiences with a strengthened resolve to ensure the success of the Shalom Corps.  Service is powerful.  It provides us with the opportunity think, feel, learn and experience differently, to open our eyes and become the very best versions of ourselves. In doing so, it strengthens our humanity and empowers us to heal the world.  

In Their Own Words: ‘Campus Pillar’ Impact at Ithaca College

When Lauren Goldberg was appointed Executive Director of Ithaca College Hillel, a private college campus with more than 1,000 Jewish students in 2017, she found the multitude of issues that needed to be addressed overwhelming.  How could she effectively fundraise, recruit students, and develop new and engaging programming on her own?  She soon realized that she was not alone, as the support provided by Mosaic United’s Campus Pillar helped her find her footing.

“I am so thankful to Mosaic United for its transformational support of the students at Ithaca College Hillel,” said Goldberg.  “Programs like the Springboard Innovation Fellowship and Jewish Learning Fellowship have given us the opportunity to achieve aspirational goals that once seemed impossible and having high quality Jewish education on campus has revolutionized our organization.” 

Goldberg explains that the turnaround began when Ithaca College Hillel leveraged Springboard to on-board Austin Reid, a talented and dedicated student who instantly doubled their capacity to inspire other Jewish students on campus.  “Austin’s implementation of his ‘Global Faces of Judaism’ series speaks to Mosaic United's value of connecting transnational Jewry.  It is easy to illustrate the ways in which Austin embodies the best of what Mosaic United hopes their campus partners will offer as an easy entry point to Jewish experiences.  Every day. he inspires students at Ithaca College to see the interdependency of our Jewish Lives in the lives of those in our immediate and global community through large scale programs as well as one-on-one engagement.” 

She also notes that the implementation of a high-quality program like the Jewish Learning Fellowship would have been absolutely unthinkable without the support of Mosaic United.  “When our JLF cohort began, neither they nor I could believe our good fortune. Watching our JLF students create meaningful connections to each other, Torah, the Jewish calendar and Judaism in their daily lives has been spectacular.”

Passover Greeting

In Israel and around the globe, Passover is among the most celebrated Jewish festivals, as it is a time to unite as a family, enjoy a great feast and contribute to the Passover Seder (literally ‘order’).  Through the retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt, we connect with other Jews around the world and throughout history – a strong symbol of continuity and consistency.  But the Passover Seder also leaves room for improvisation, and each of us are encouraged to add new insights each year as we reflect on our birth as a nation and its connection to the present. 

As such, Passover is a fine example of the Jewish counterpoint between structure and spontaneity.  Though we all tell the same story in the same words, we each add something unique to make it our own.  Having relaunched Mosaic United with an incredible new team and exciting new partnerships, this festival speaks directly to our goals of working together with incredible leaders, initiatives and communities around the globe to help the next generation map out their own unique Jewish journeys. 

What follows are a few highlights to provide you with a taste of our ongoing efforts, including an overview of our success on college campuses (from the mouths of the educators and students themselves), our reflections on how to respond to mountinganti-Semitism, the launch of our service initiative, ‘Shalom Corps,’and some materials that can be used to inspire dialogue atyour own Seder table.

As we relive the Exodus this year, may we be inspired to discoversomething new, rejuvenateour connectionsto the past,and useour freedom for the betterment of all those around us! 

Chag Kasher V'Sameach/ Happy Passover,

Rabbi Benji Levy      
CEO, Mosaic United