Share fun, food and learning at community Women’s Seder

by | Feb 8, 2013 | What’s Happening

Sunday, March 17, 12–2 pm

Preparing for Passover can be both intense and exhilarating for women.

The to-do list fills with chores including; cleaning the house from top to bottom to rid it of chametz (leavened products), hauling out the special Passover china, ironing bubbe’s linen tablecloth, finding exciting Pesach recipes, planning a Seder, or finding a new Seder to attend.

With its upcoming Women’s Seder, the Jewish Women’s Outreach Committee of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater is offering a two-hour break from that lengthy list, where women, ages 16 and up, can enjoy a lovely meal, a spiritual gathering, and a blending of all traditions.

“In addition to this being a social gathering of women, it’s also an opportunity to learn together, have fun and create a meaningful Jewish community,” says UJFT Women’s Cabinet director Amy Zelenka. “And we know that not everyone has a Seder, and this one will certainly be nonthreatening and welcoming for all who want to come.”

Women from a variety of Jewish affiliations are organizing the Seder: Reform, Conservative and Orthodox. That fact alone, the organizers say, ensures there will be plenty of diversity during the meal. The Haggadah, or text that recounts the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, used during the service will also add an interesting element; mixing traditional and contemporary elements, it is a publication of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). (See Hal Sack’s review on page 18)

The Seder costs $10 per woman, and is at the Simon Family JCC. There will be no campaign solicitation and it is open to all women in the community.

“All of our Women’s Outreach events are fun, educational and provide a Jewish context to things as casual as cooking, or going to the movies, or an event like this one,” Zelenka says. “This year, the Outreach Committee is teaming up with the Simon Family JCC to make it even more of a community happening.”

Miriam Brunn Ruberg and Stephanie Peck, of the JCC, are working together with Kim Fink, Amy Lefcoe and Janet Mercadante to help Tidewater Jewish women get to know each other and widen their circles of friends.

Last year, Jewish Women’s Outreach events reached more than 200 women in the community. This Seder is a natural extension from the very popular Jewlicious program, last year’s pre-Passover event.

Held in the cafeteria at the Sandler Family Campus of the Tidewater Jewish Community, Jewlicious featured cooking demonstrations, a tasting menu of delicious Pesach-friendly recipes, and a take-home recipe book of the best Passover recipes our local, well-known cooks have to offer.

Attendees raved about the event, and clamored for the cookbooks long after the holiday ended. Zelenka says some of the recipes will be served at the Seder, and a few cookbooks will be available for purchase that day. For a sneak peak of some of the recipes, Like the Jewish Women 757 page on Facebook.

To find out more about the Women’s Seder or to RSVP, call Patty Malone, 757-965-6115, email, or visit

by Laine M. Rutherford