You can’t typecast the people who will be coming to Sederim run by the Flame and the Young Israel of New Rochelle. Some will be singles. Some have young families. Some will be empty nesters. Some will be bringing their extended families. Some will be Orthodox and most will not be. Some will know everything (or think they do) about the Sederim and some will not know anything. But all will know three things: All will be made to feel welcome, everything in the Sederim will be explained and no will pay a dime—since these Sederim all free.
The Young Israel of New Rochelle and the Flame run free Sederim at the Young Israel because on a holiday that celebrates freedom, every Jew should be able to enjoy that celebration for free. The people running the Sederim make a special effort to make everyone feel a sense of home and friendship, particularly those attending for the first time who may not know anyone.
This message of warmth and openness obviously resonates. Each year the Sederim attract 50-75 people each night. The food must resonate too as the Sederim provide full catered meals. There is matza, marror, four cups of wine, fabulous mains, sides and even dessert. All free!
The Flame has been running Sederim in New Rochelle for over 25 years. In fact, Flame leaders have been asked to speak on panels that were broadcast around the world on how to run a communal Seder. It is not easy to find thoughts that appeal to the wide variety of people who attend but somehow it works year after year. The preparations for the explanations take so much time that study begins a full month before to ensure that the choicest nuggets are shared.
Kids also enjoy the Sederim as there are activities and explanations specifically designed for them.
For more information or to make the required reservations, please contact Rabbi Mat Hoffman at [email protected] or 914-481-7584.
By Rabbi Mathew Hoffman