UJA creates hotline for New Yorkers seeking seder

“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.”

By JORDANA HORN
April 7, 2011 05:09
2 minute read.
UJA creates hotline for New Yorkers seeking seder

seder 248 88 aj. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi )

 
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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.

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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” represented.

“Our goal is to assist people in finding a seder where they feel comfortable,” Goldman added.

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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 seat.

“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,” Goldman said.

“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 seder.”

Finding people a seder, Goldman said, has also led to finding people who are in need and are hesitant to ask for help.

“It really serves as a gateway for people to access other network agency services,” Goldman continued.

“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.

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