Midtown Raleigh News

Seder celebrates role of women in Judaism

Women of all faiths are invited to join in a special Passover ​seder on March 22 at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh. The event celebrates religious tradition and the role strong women have played in Judaism.

Seders are traditionally held on the first two nights of the observance of Passover, the eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. The seder meal is rich in religious ceremony and ritual.

“It’s one of the Jewish holidays that is home-centered, as opposed to being based in the house of worship,” said Judye Jacobs, a member of the women’s group at Temple Beth Or that helps organize the special seder. “Rather than holding prayer services, we celebrate this observance in the home.”

The special meal includes many traditions, including the eating of matzah, or unleavened bread. In the Passover story, the Jews left Egypt so quickly there wasn’t time to wait for the dough to rise. Matzah, made only of flour and water, is a humble food that symbolizes faith. It’s eaten at prescribed times during the seder.

“The word seder itself means order, meaning the order that you do something,” Jacobs said. “When you say ‘seder,’ you are talking about the order that you do the rituals, that you eat the food and say the prayers.”

Most Jewish seders follow​ the same order, she said.

“But within that order, there is room for creativity,” Jacobs said. “And in the case of a women’s seder, there is room for honoring and observing the importance of women in Jewish history and the Passover story.”

In the Haggadah, which tells the story of Passover and guides the order of the Passover seder, only the men are mentioned by name. But scholars believe many unnamed women,​ as well as Moses’ sister, Miriam, played dramatic roles in the exodus.

“The women’s seder, which has its roots in the feminist movement of the mid-20th century, is an opportunity for women to celebrate and recognize the strong women role models in our lives,” Jacobs said.

This women’s seder, which is a collaborative effort between the sisterhood at Temple Beth Or, the sisterhood at Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh and the Wake County chapter of Hadassah, is multi-generational and is open to guests of different religious backgrounds.​

“We have always been open to women of all faiths, because we have found that there is a genuine interest on the part of non-Jews,” Jacobs said.

This seder includes singing and dancing, and the dinner will be catered.

“Because we hold it before Passover, it is not strictly kosher for Passover,” Jacobs said. “It is kosher-style. We will not serve pasta, and we will not serve foods that are traditionally prohibited during the Passover holiday.”

Jews don’t eat leavened products during the eight-day observance of Passover.

The women’s seder will be Sunday, March 22, at 4:45 p.m., at Temple Beth Or, 5315 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh.

For questions or information about registering, email Raleigh_womens_seder@yahoo.com or call 919-766-1445.

Guests are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

Tournament tradition

If you like your barbecue with a side of basketball, Windborne United Methodist Church in Raleigh has just the event for you.

Thirteen pigs and 100 chickens will be on the cookers Friday, March 13, ready for lunch and dinner.

The fundraiser features barbecue or chicken plates with macaroni and cheese, cole slaw, a dinner roll and tea for $8. Children’s hot dog plates are $4, and Brunswick stew will be made onsite and sold for $5 a pint or $9 a quart.

There will be plenty of homemade desserts for sale as well, and you can catch the ACC men’s basketball tournament action on the big screen.

Serving hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at Windborne, which is at 9121 Six Forks Road near Interstate 540.

All proceeds from the barbecue sale support missions and ministries of the church.

SHiNE Service

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church will host its monthly SHiNE service at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15. This service is open to worshipers of all abilities and their families.

Good Shepherd Lutheran is located at 7000 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. If you have questions about this special service, email shine@gslchurch.org.

Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at carla.turchetti.writer@gmail.com.