No comments yet


This coming Shabbat, the Shabbat immediately preceding Passover is called SHABBAT HAGADOL, the Great Sabbath. Rabbis traditionally deliver long sermons about the laws of Passover, what is kosher and what is not, how our behaviors change during the Passover festival, how we should conduct our Sedarim (plural of Seder), and many other instructions for the Passover holiday. The Torah portion for this Shabbat is M’tzora, The Leper! We learn about an ancient skin disease that is identified as leprosy, and how the priests attempted to cure the afflicted Israelites in the desert on their march to the Promised Land.

Passover is here! The first Seder is this coming Monday evening, April 22, and the second Seder, Tuesday evening, April 23. This year, Jews the world over are filled with worry and anxiety about the Gaza-Israel War precipitated by the cold blooded murder of 1250 Jews in Israel on October 7th, about the terrifying growth of anti-Semitism, and about the Iranian attack that rained hundreds of drones and missiles on Israel this past Shabbat!

This year, our people are afflicted with sadness, worry, anxiety, depression and fear for the future of the State of Israel and for Jews the world over.

Pesach arrives for all of us at just the right time! We must celebrate Z’man Heirutenu, the Season of our Liberation from Bondage, with renewed joy, optimism and hope for the future! We must embrace the rituals of the Seder meal not only as teaching practices to re-enact our Exodus from Egyptian bondage, but also as joyous rituals to lift our moods and bring happiness to every member of our families.

I fervently believe in the power of Jewish music to bring our Seder celebrations to full intensity! Every Seder should be loud, boisterous, melodic, and rhythmic! The music of the Seder should be sung by every family member, from age three to 120! If your family members and assembled friends know multiple melodies to the same texts, sing them all! The Seder is divided into two halves by the festive and elaborate meal. The singing grows in energy, tempo and volume as the evening progresses!

Here are the musical high points of the Seder. Before the meal: Kiddush/Prayer over the First Cup and each of the succeeding three cups; the Four Questions, sung by the youngest in attendance who is able to sing the text; Avadim Hayinu/Once We Were Slaves; The Ten Plagues; Dayenu, an eternal favorite with loud refrain and many verses. Oh Listen King Pharaoh, and the Frog Song, are popular preschool songs sung by the preschoolers during the first half. After we recite the blessing over the second wine cup, Dinner is served. After the meal and Birkat Hamazon/Grace after Eating, we sing Eliyahu Hanavi, as we open the door for Elijah the Prophet. We conclude the formal Seder with L’shanah Habaah Birushalayim/Next Year in Jerusalem, AT PEACE! Then come our favorite Seder songs: Adir Hu; Echad Mi Yodea/Who Knows One; and Chad Gadyah/Only One “Kid/Goat.”

Here is a new video of Tel Aviv residents who gathered on Sunday morning, April 14, on the Tayelet, to join in Israeli dancing with resolute joy and fervent hope for the future: This great video captures the spirit we all must feel as we approach this year’s Passover celebrations!

MOSES ISN’T IN THE HAGADAH. This brand new song is written and performed by Eliana Light, a charismatic young song leader and composer. She sings this clever tune and lyric together with children and adults at last year’s Passover Retreat at Camp Ramah in Clayton, Georgia. This is a sure fire new hit, acknowledging that the hero of the Passover story doesn’t get a mention in the Hagadah!

Here are a group of YouTube videos of the Seder songs and Passover parodies! You can sing along and watch them as you prepare for the Seder, or you can even set up your laptop on the Seder table and play them during your Seder!

THE LION KING SEDER, sung by Six13, an amazing a cappella group:

A BILLY JOEL SEDER, another Six13 terrific video;

THE FOUR QUESTIONS sung by the Maccabeats, another wonderful a cappella group:

DAYENU, in many musical styles, sung by the Maccabeats:

IPO PASSOVER MEDLEY, a group of Seder songs played by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. This recording was made during the Covid “plague,” and all the musicians recorded their parts in their own homes. You should sing along!

I want to hear from you about your joyful and tuneful Passover Seder! Ellen and all the Tilman’s wish you Hag Sameach, Happy Passover!!