Passover is almost here — beginning Monday night, April 14, and ending the following Tuesday, April 22, at sundown. There are lots of great family events celebrating Passover taking place here in New Jersey and in Manhattan.
Here are some of our favorites:
Local Passover Events
Children’s Passover Program at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel
Who: Ages 2-10 and their families
What: A free Passover holiday program for children and adults with Education Directors Carol Paster and Mindy Schreff, who run the synagogue’s community preschool and religious school. There will be songs, an interactive Passover story, a related craft activity, and Holiday treats.
Where: Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, 432 Scotland Road, South Orange
When: Saturday, April 5 from 9:00 to 10:30 am
Cost: Free, but advanced reservations are required as soon as possible. RSVP to email@example.com.
Montclair Young Family Chocolate Seder
Who: Ages 3 – 6
What: Join J Connection and Temple Sholom of West Essex for a Chocolate Seder. Learn the parts of the Passover Seder, sing Passover songs with Rabbi Groffman and eat lots of yummy chocolate! Take home a plague bag to use at your own Passover Seder!
Where: Geyer Family YMCA, 159 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair, NJ
When: Sunday, April 6 at 2 pm
Cost: Free, but RSVP as soon as possible to Emmy Atlas or 973-929-2968.
An Extraordinary Day of Jewish Storytelling
What: Three nationally known storytellers will present a 90-minute program for families with children ages 5 and up.
Where: Van Vleck House & Gardens, 21 Van Vleck Street, Montclair, NJ
When: Sunday, April 6 from 2:00 – 3:30 pm
Cost: $5 per person. Pre-registration required. To register, visit www.vanvleck.org or call 973-744-4752.
Shomrei Emunah Preschool Model Seder
Who: Ages 3 – 6
What: Preschool families at Shomrei Emunah will join together to hear the dramatic Passover story told (and sung!) like never before. Dance with the Israelites to freedom and taste traditional Passover foods.
Where: Shomrei Emunah, 67 Park St Montclair, Montclair, NJ
When: Thursday, April 10, 11 am to noon
Cost: Free and open to the community, but RSVP required: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mama Doni and a Freedom Shabbat Family
What: Temple Sholom of West Essex is proud to have Mama Doni return and celebrate its Freedom Shabbat Family service on along with Cantor Epstein. An acoustic shabbat experience fun for the whole family.
When: April 11 at 6:30 pm
Where: Temple Sholom of West Essex, 760 Pompton Avenue, Cedar Grove, NJ.
Cost: RSVP is required to email@example.com or you may call the office at 973-239-1321.
Passover Event at The Messy Artist
Who: Ages 18 months – 5 years with parent/caregiver
What: Children will make Seder plates in honor of the Jewish holiday of Passover and have some Messy Artist fun. The morning will conclude with a storytime read by friends from PJ Library (a book-of-the-month program for families raising Jewish children).
Where: The Messy Artist, 356 Route 10 West, East Hanover, NJ
When: Friday, April 11 from 9:30 – 11:00 am
Cost: $15/child and $10/additional sibling. Or, sign up for The Messy Artist’s Spring or Summer session by April 14 and your Passover event is free! RSVP here.
Passover Seder with JCSS (The Jewish Cultural School and Society)
Who: All ages.
What: Join the Jewish Cultural School & Society (JCSS) for a family Passover Seder.
Where: Baird Center 5 Mead Street, South Orange NJ
When: Sun, April 13, 10 am – 1 pm
Cost: Suggested donation $30
Freedom Art Jam: Art and Dance Party for Passover
Who: All ages.
What: The 2nd annual Passover extravaganza with art, music, and dancing! Set yourself free to the 60’s era tunes of Baby Loves Disco DJs, design a freedom sculpture, hear beloved songs from David Grover & Grover’s Gang, create an instrument, add to a giant word poem, and more!
Where: The Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue (at 92nd Street), New York
When: Sunday, April 20 from 12 pm – 4 pm
Cost: Free with Museum Admission
In addition to all of these fantastic local events, you can also head to New York City on Sunday, April 6, to hear Montclair’s own Mama Doni. Mama Doni and the Mama Doni Band will be performing at the 3rd Annual Passover Palooza at Streit’s Matzo Factory, a free family event held at the original Streit’s Matzo Factory, 150 Rivington Street. The event begins with a free Mama Doni concert at 1:00 pm followed at 2:00 pm by tours of Streit’s Matzo Factory, where families can see Passover matzos being made.
In Brooklyn, the Jewish Children’s Musuem (792 Eastern Parkway) has a Model Matzah Bakery. On Sunday, April 6, at 1:00 and 2:30 pm, kids can mix, punch, roll and bake their very own matzahs to take home. Free with museum admission.
A Few More Ideas for Celebrating Passover
If you’re hosting a Passover Seder, but don’t want to cook, I highly recommend Fairway Market Catering. They offer a full meal that even includes the Seder Plate. For dessert, Splurge Bakery in Millburn has a Passover menu. And if you’re making matzoh balls from scratch, here’s my detailed recipe for perfect Homemade Matzoh Balls.
To get the younger kids into the Passover mood, try a wind-up walking matzoh ball ($3.50)
or nail decals of the ten plagues for teens ($12).
While there are lots of great traditional kids books for Passover, I love having something new to put into the reading rotation. Max Makes A Cake, released earlier this year from Random House, is perfect for ages 3-7. Written by Michelle Edwards and illustrated by Charles Santoso, this story centers on young Max and his quest to not only make his mom a birthday cake on Passover, but to make it a surprise. Despite his baby sister’s attempts to thrart his plan, Max prevails and (spoiler alert) cake is enjoyed by all before the story ends.
If your kids are observing the Passover holiday’s dietary restrictions and not eating leavened products while also attending school during the week of Passover, think about adding some fun touches to their daily lunches. There are lots of inspiring options at 32 Passover Meal and Lunchbox Ideas, and I always include a good dessert – jelly fruit slices, a piece of Passover sponge cake or a macroon are all kid-pleasing choices that make the sight of yet another cream cheese and matzoh sandwich in the lunchbox seem a little more cheerful.
Happy Passover! Chag Pesach Sameach!
(Top photo: Flickr)