Seders planned for the farthest corners of the planet, despite financial constraints

Conducting Seders in the far reaches of the Earth is especially difficult.

seder plate 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
seder plate 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Despite the severe toll the worldwide economic crisis has taken on Jewish charities, many philanthropists and organizations are going out of their way to make sure the festival of freedom reaches as many Jews as possible, no matter how far they may be from centers of Jewish life. Chabad spokespeople told The Jerusalem Post this week that despite financial setbacks, they had launched unprecedented fund-raising and outreach efforts. The Federation of the Jewish Communities of the CIS, an umbrella of Chabad communities and outposts throughout the former Soviet Union, said that giving from their most significant contributor, Bukharan-Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, would not be reduced despite Leviev announcing this week major losses. The federation is expected to host some 1,000 Pessah Seders in hundreds of communities from Latvia to Kyrgyzstan. "We are committed to fulfilling our leader's call to enable every Jew in the world to participate at a Seder," said Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky , vice chairman of Chabad's educational division. As an example, Kotlarsky described the "mind-boggling" planned 2,000-participant Seder that will be held among backpackers in Nepal. Meanwhile, a NIS 24 million effort by the Joint Distribution Committee and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews will bring Seders and holiday activities throughout the eight days of Pessah to thousands of FSU Jews who would not otherwise be able to celebrate the holiday. Other philanthropists, including long-time contributor George Rohr of New York and Brazilian-born, Israel-based energy magnate Guma Aguiar, gave to Chabad efforts worldwide, helping to send some 600 Chabad rabbis to 285 destinations, from Japan to Argentina, to lead Seders in local Jewish communities and with Israeli backpackers. Conducting Seders in the far reaches of the Earth - at least in Jewish terms - is especially difficult. It requires transporting huge quantities of matza, wine and meat, and coordinating closely with local authorities, Chabad world headquarters in Brooklyn noted in a statement this week.