Upcoming Event

Ma Nishtana: How are WE different this Passover?

Sunday, March 14, 2021

12:00 pm - 4:30 pm, EDT

Over a year has passed since our lives were radically disrupted, and we’re not out of the wilderness yet. How might our tradition bring us new understandings of personal and communal hardship? How do our textual narratives on the complexity of freedom and collective responsibility resonate differently this year?

Join Pardes to learn, reflect and prepare for the upcoming holiday, through textual explorations with renowned faculty, havruta learning, creative workshops and more.

9:00 AM – 1:30 PM PACIFIC*
12:00 PM -4:30 PM EASTERN*
4:00 PM – 8:30 PM GMT
6:00 PM -10:30 PM ISRAEL
(*note that N. America will have moved to DST)


SESSION I: 9-10:10 am PDT / 12-1:10 pm EDT / 4-5:10 pm GMT / 6-7:10 pm Israel

How Do I Regard Myself As If I Had Come Out Of Egypt? / Yiscah Smith

“In every generation a person is obliged to regard himself as if he had come out of Egypt”  (Mishnah Pesachim 10:5). Every year, we recite this at the Pesach Seder… but what does this really mean? We will explore a teaching from the Ba’al HaTanya, R’ Shneur Zalman of Liadi, that suggests how this is a doable and redemptive spiritual practice; one that we can cultivate daily and not only when we recite the Haggada at the Pesach Seder.


The Haggada as a Pedagogic Strategy: “How Is This Year Different From All Other Years?” / Michael Hattin

The retelling of the exodus from Egypt is one of the primary rituals associated with the Seder.  This foundational story, so central to Jewish identity, invites us to explore the transition from hardship to relief and from slavery to freedom.  But, as we have experienced this past year, that transition can be laborious, drawn out and fraught with tension.  

In this class, we will examine the underlying structure of the Haggada and consider how its text has been carefully assembled as a pedagogic tool designed to elicit intellectual discussion and emotional engagement.  Along the way, we may discover that the message of the Haggada, while perennially relevant, holds special power for us this year.

SESSION II: 10:30-12 pm PDT / 1:30-3 pm EDT / 5:30-7 pm GMT / 7:30-9 pm Israel

The Customs That Shape Us / Nechama Goldman Barash

In this class, we will study a passage in tractate Pesachim which deals with varying customs in different locations and the impact they have on the identity of the community. At times, customs develop with little connection to the original traditional practice or Rabbinic legal ruling. 

According to the Talmud, should an educated sage let the uneducated populace in on Halakhic truth – or leave them in peace to follow the traditions of their ancestors? What really matters in such cases, and how might this affect the way we create communities of religious practice today?


“Desire in the Midst of Harsh Labor”: A Tale of Love and Liberation / Gila Fine

Why is the Bible so afraid of love? Who were the lovers who saved the Jewish People in Egypt? And how do the rabbis deconstruct one of the greatest myths of their time?

A reading of Midrash Tanhuma Pekudei 9, through Ovid and Maharal, the Brothers Grimm and Jacques Lacan, George Orwell and Erich Fromm.  



12:20 pm-1:30 pm PDT / 3:20-4:30 pm EDT / 7:20-8:30 pm GMT / 9:20-10:30 pm Israel

Workshop: Creating an Interactive Seder Experience / Aviva Lauer + Reuven Margrett

The Passover Haggadah reminds us that, “in every generation,” we must see ourselves as if we personally left Egypt. And every year we ask ourselves: how are we meant to do that some 3,300 years after the fact?? In this workshop, participants will gain quick tips and learn practical, applicable activities to help make this year’s seder night(s) interactive, alive, relevant, and fun – for participants of all ages. 





Workshop: The Women of Exodus & Civil Disobedience – Writing Modern MidrashSivan Rotholz

Join feminist Torah scholar, creative writing professor, future rabbi, and Pardes student Sivan Rotholz for an encounter with biblical resisters Shifrah & Puah, Yoheved, Batya, and Miriam. In this workshop, we will discover how the heroines of Exodus teach us civil disobedience and read creative responses to their stories. Then, via writing prompts, we will write our own creative midrash, adding our voices to an age-old tradition.


Real Home Makeover: Pesach Edition / Zvi Hirschfield

Join Zvi Hirschfield LIVE from the kitchen as he takes us through the basics of turning our homes into “chametz-free” zones – without enslaving ourselves in the process! What’s the magic of boiling water? Do I really need all that tinfoil? We’ll tackle some practical tips and techniques for kashering and cleaning without going overboard, in a way that preserves the true spirit of the holiday. 

Click to download the full schedule