Sign In Forgot Password

We Who Believe in Freedom:All About Pesach / Passover 5779 at FTJC

Spring of parsley

FTJC has no time to rest, with so much going on for Pesach / Passover, as we make our collective journey from oppression to liberation. We are once again having a Community Seder on the second night of Pesach. There are a number of things each of us should do to prepare for the holiday. So after you have registered for the Community Seder, please continue below:

Second Night Community Seder
Pre-Pesach Prep
Selling Chametz
Kashering for Passover
Burning Chametz
Fast of the First-Born
Service Times and Locations
Rimonim: Youth & Family Programming

Register for the Second Night Community Seder
Celebrate with community! Rabbi Guy Austrian will lead a joyful Seder full of discussion, song, learning, and drama. Dinner by a certified kosher caterer, with meat and vegetarian options, with no kitniyot. Open to all! $50.00 adult member, $55.00 adult nonmember, $25.00 children ages 4 to 12. Children under age 4, free. Financial subsidies are available by e-mailing

Date: Saturday, April 20, Second Seder Night of Pesach
Time: Minchah and Ma'ariv Services, 7:30 PM. Seder, 8:00 – 11:30 PM
Place: Hebrew Tabernacle Social Hall

To register please click or tap here. DEADLINE: end of Sunday April 14, at midnight. Unfortunately, no refunds are possible after this date. 

Pre-Pesach Prep

Help Others to Afford Pesach — Ma’ot Chittin
Pesach is expensive! That’s why our tradition includes the mitzvah of donating ma’ot chittin (literally, “wheat money”) to help low-income Jews afford the basics. If you need help yourself, you can e-mail Rabbi Austrian as soon as possible.

Please consider helping out in any of these ways:
1. Donate to the FTJC Rabbi's Discretionary Fund.
2. Donate to the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights & Inwood. Click “Donate” and designate your gift for Pesach.
3. Help the JCC-WHI distribute essential Pesach groceries, for free, to local people. Email Anat Coleman for details.

Get Rid of Your Chametz–Food Drive for JCC-WHI
Can’t eat all that pasta and cereal before Pesach? Give it away to the JCC-WHI food pantry, which serves the entire neighborhood. Donated food must have a hechsher (kosher symbol), be not opened, not expired, and not “junk food”! Drop it off at the food pantry (121 Bennett Ave #11A @ W. 187th St.) before Tuesday, April 16, from 9 AM to 5 PM, Mon-Thu, 9 AM to 1 PM on Fri.

Sell the Chametz Left Behind — Mechirat Chametz
Chametz should neither be seen in your home, business or vehicle, nor owned by you, during Pesach. Chametz includes not only wheat, but also spelt, rye, oats, and barley. In a case where getting rid of your chametz would cause you a substantial loss (e.g., your collections of small-batch bourbon and heirloom spelt flours, or all your year-round pots and pans), you can put it out of sight and out of reach, and authorize Rabbi Austrian to sell it on your behalf to a non-Jew, for the duration of Pesach. CLICK HERE TO FILL OUT THE AUTHORIZATION FORM — DEADLINE: end of Wednesday, April 17, at midnight.

Make Your Kitchen Kosher
Scrub, switch, boil, wash — the process of kashering a kitchen for Pesach is exhaustive and exhausting. But approached with a sense of sacred avodah (work, or divine service), it can be a beautifully focused discipline. Just don’t leave it to the last minute!
Kashrut and cleaning guidelines are available from the Rabbinical Assembly. Additional Pesach guides are online from Star-K and OU.

Kitniyot: A Long Note about Small Things
Until recently, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly (Conservative) upheld the longstanding Ashkenazi minhag (custom) of refraining from eating kitniyot (literally, “small things”) which include beans, corn, millet, peas, rice, soy, and some other plant-based foods such as mustard, buckwheat and sesame seeds. In Fall 2015 the CJLS approved two responsa (halachic opinions) which permit the consumption of kitniyot for Ashkenazim. To fully understand their positions, which differ in their reasons, please see here and here; to read the dissenting opinion see hereThe FTJC Second Night Community Seder and our communal spaces will continue to not include kitniyot. If you would like to discuss your own practice, feel free to contact Rabbi Austrian. We trust that our community members will speak with one another about this issue with utmost respect and kindness, not indulging in gossip or judgment.

Find and Burn the Last Crumbs of Chametz — Bedikah and Bi’ur
Thursday night April 18, and Friday morning April 19

This blessing guide contains the procedures and blessings for finding, annulling, and burning the last crumbs of chametz in your house.

Step One: Fun for kids and grownups of all ages! On Thursday night, April 18, “hide” and “find” a few last pieces of bread or other chametz in the house, by candlelight. Gather the crumbs safely in a sealed bag. The search is also a spiritual one, for the last bits of pride and oppression inside of you. Get ready to burn them up.

Step Two: On Friday morning, April 19, destroy the chametz you found. You could flush it or throw it in the river, but preferably (and more dramatically) you can burn up your last crumbs (and the utensils used in the search) in a fire barrel behind the Hirsch Yeshiva on Bennett Ave. between W. 184 and W. 185.

The latest time for eating chametz is Friday April 19 at 10:11 AM, and the latest time for destroying chametz is 11:33 AM (in Washington Heights and Inwood).


Fast or Feast for the First-Born —
Siyyum for Ta’anit Bechorot
Friday April 19, 8:00-9:30 AM

Location: 739 W 186th Street, Apt 5E (at Overlook)
Please Register

Our Sages mark the horror of, and our deliverance from, the Plague of the Slaying of the First-Born, by prescribing a Fast of the First-Born (Ta’anit Bechorot) on the day before the first night of Pesach, from dawn until the Seder. This fast applies to adult Jews of all genders who are first-born (or only) children of any of their parents.

But we traditionally replace the fast with a se’udat mitzvah (ritual meal) in response to the siyyum(completion) of a substantial portion of Jewish text learning. To be exempt from the fast, join Rabbi Austrian and the community for morning prayers, a brief teaching led by Rabbi Austrian on Seder Mo'ed of the Mishnah, and one last bagel & shmear.

You can bring your sealed bag of last chametz from your search of the night before, and we’ll make a group trip to the fire barrel on Bennett Ave. to burn it up!

Please register so that we know we will have a minyan and enough bagels to go around!

Prayer Services and Yizkor
Join us for festival prayers, complete with special Torah readings, joyful and song-filled Hallel, and once-a-year sacred poetry including Tal (the Prayer for Dew) and Shir ha-Shirim (Song of Songs). Please note varying service locations.

Shabbat Hagadol – Saturday, April 13, 9:00 AM
Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle. In addition to FTJC's usual Shabbat services, including Children's Services, Rabbi Guy Austrian will address the community on a topic relating to the halachot (pathways and practices) of Pesach. 

Pesach Day 1, Saturday April 20, 9:00 AM
Shacharit (morning prayers), 9:00 AM. Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle. Featuring “Tal” (A Prayer for Dew) at Musaf — don’t miss this dramatic once-a-year prayer, in which initial letters fall from tav ת to aleph א, like dew descending from the divine, like redemption upon our people and our land.  Children's services in various classrooms.

Minchah and Ma’ariv (evening prayers), promptly at 7:30 PM. Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle. Prior to the FTJC Second Night Community Seder; the service is open to all, regardless of whether you are staying for the Seder (pre-registration only) which will immediately follow Ma’ariv at 8:00 PM

Pesach Day 2, Sunday, April 21, 8:00 AM
Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle (first floor, go through Social Hall). This day is also Easter Sunday -- in order to accommodate the churches with whom we share the Hebrew Tabernacle building, we will be praying earlier and faster. Space for children's programming TBD.

Pesach Day 7, Friday April 26, 9:00 AM
Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle. Children's Services in Classrooms 1 and 2. Featuring “Shirat Ha-Yam,” the dramatic reading of the Song at the Sea. Minchah / Ma'ariv will be held at 7:35 PM in the HT Social Hall. 

Pesach Day 8, Saturday April 27, 9:00 AM -- with Yizkor
Location: Social Hall at Hebrew Tabernacle. Children's services in various classrooms. With Yizkor at about 11:00 AM, remembering those who have left our world with psalms, readings and the liturgy of mourning. Donations in honor of Yizkor may be made to FTJC by clicking here. Also featuring “Shir ha-Shirim” (“The Song of Songs”) -- incredibly erotic, intricately poetic, multi-gendered, and chanted in a beautiful melody of longing and desire. The Liberation at Pesach is a love affair between Israel and the Holy One. Come experience this yearning for love and connection. Minchah and Ma'ariv will be held at 7:20 PM in the 2nd Floor Penthouse.

Rimonim: Youth & Family Programming

Saturday, April 13, 4:00 PM: Zera’im: Seeds of Passover (children 0-4+ adults) -- Please RSVP for location. 

Calling all Zera’im families (children 0-preK and their grown-ups) for our monthly Shabbat afternoon gathering, full of play, singing, stories and treats among friends. This month is Passover-themed! Please bring a kosher snack to share. 

Saturday, April 13, 4:00 PM: Shorashim: God Talk (3rd-5th grades) -- Please RSVP for location.

In this month’s Shorashim "God Talk" for 3rd-5th grades, we will be learning about Passover through an exploration of miracles and liberation. Parents will have parallel learning simultaneously.

Sunday, April 14, 3:00 PM: Nitzanim: Sprouting Mitzvot (preK-2nd grade) RSVP for location. 
We will be focusing on the mitzvot of the upcoming holiday of Passover through a project, discussion, and games. During the children’s program, there will also be parallel parent learning available. A good break from Pesach prep and cleaning!

Anafim (middle school) and Teen programming is in progress, please check back soon!

Wed, January 22 2020 25 Tevet 5780