NEW YORK – UJA-Federation of New York’s J11 Information and Referral Center is
trying to make sure that everyone in the New York Jewish community has a seder
to attend this Pessah.
The J11 Information and Referral Center, part of
UJA, is an information clearing-house for those in the community who want to
observe Pessah, but do not have a seder to attend.
The center’s list 40
venues of open community seders in the five boroughs of the city, Long Island
and Westchester includes reservation information at local community centers,
synagogues and restaurants.
Seders listed range in price from donations
requested, to $110 per person. The listings encompass all streams of Judaism,
from the Orthodox to the unaffiliated to “ p o s t - d e n o m i n a t i o n a l
(between Reform and Conservative, with creative elements).”
This is the
fourth year of the seder-finding program, Lindsay Goldman, director of the J11
information and referral center said. With every year, it keeps growing due to
increased synagogue participation and increases in the amount of referrals,
which numbers in the hundreds.
“It is part of UJA-Federation’s role and
responsibility to connect people to the Jewish community, and to connect people
to us and our network of agencies around the holidays,” Goldman said. She
stressed the importance of having ‘the whole spectrum of denominations”
“Our goal is to assist people in finding a seder where they
feel comfortable,” Goldman added.
Another change in the program over the
years has been the addition of a Passover Voucher Program, where would-be
attendees who are in need can be given up to $60 to arrange a seder
“We noticed when fielding these calls for seders that when we’d
tell people the price, many were extremely dismayed and could barely afford it,”
“We tracked that, and were able to set aside a pool of
funds every year to pay for or help subsidize the cost of attending a
Finding people a seder, Goldman said, has also led to finding
people who are in need and are hesitant to ask for help.
serves as a gateway for people to access other network agency services,” Goldman
“If people need a voucher to attend a seder, there is usually
a reason. We have social workers who are able to sensitively, and in a
culturally competent way, ask the questions to elicit the information, and then
connect them with other resources.”
Anyone who wishes to donate to the
UJA’s Poverty Fund, which funds the Passover Voucher program to enable those who
cannot afford to attend a seder to do so, can e-mail donorcenter@ ujafedny.org.