Combining social action and Jewish culture creates ties that bind

For one night each year, the Jewish Community Center transforms its multipurpose area into a beautiful, warm, inviting room fit with seating for over 100 guests. The tables are arranged in the shape of wheel spokes with rich tapestries and ambient lighting. As women from the community gather for a delicious feast, there is a sense of sisterhood and pride in the room. This is the Women’s Seder. So how did it get started?

In the spring of 2014, Esther Broner: A Weave of Women, was shown at the JCC Film Festival. Featuring archival footage and interviews, the film showcases feminists within the Jewish community. One of those women was Esther Broner. In 1975, Esther and Naomi Nimrod wrote the first Women’s Haggadah. Esther would go on to lead the Feminist Passover Seder in New York City for 36 years, until her death in 2011. Esther often hosted the seders at her apartment. They were attended by celebrities such as Gloria Steinem and author/activist Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

The film resonated with several of the women in attendance that day. They decided to plan a local Women’s Seder, and it has been a success each subsequent year.

A creative and collaborative effort, the Seder brings in women from all over the greater Dayton community, regardless of religious affiliation. Each year, the committee is inspired by a particular theme and plans the Hagaddah, the décor, and the menu accordingly. The 2018 Seder’s theme is “Finding Your Roots: A Path to Freedom”.

It reaffirms to all in attendance the power that women have to change the world for the better. It is truly one of the best community events I have ever attended.

~ Angela Frydman
JCC Women’s Seder Committee Member

It reaffirms to all in attendance the power that women have to change the world for the better. It is truly one of the best community events I have ever attended.

~ Angela Frydman
JCC Women’s Seder Committee Member

It reaffirms to all in attendance the power that women have to change the world for the better. It is truly one of the best community events I have ever attended.

~ Angela Frydman
JCC Women’s Seder Committee Member

Angela Frydman was one of the women on the inaugural committee. “The Women’s Seder is a beautiful, inspirational event which brings together women of all ages (and religious affiliations). It reaffirms to all in attendance the power that women have to change the world for the better. It is truly one of the best community events I have ever attended.”

Another committee member echoes that sentiment. Lori Cohen likes that the event brings together a diverse group of women, while at the same time raising awareness of the plagues in our current environment. “The communal dinner provides an atmosphere of wanting to connect and discover what makes us similar as opposed to what divides us. The Women’s Seder is a lovely evening of daughters, mothers, friends, neighbors, and new acquaintances.”

For more information about the Women’s Seder, please contact Jane Hochstein, JCC Director at (937) 401-1545 or jhochstein@jfgd.net.

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