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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Executive Director Esther East, Board President Fran Liechenstein and JFS intern Rabbi Yisrael Reich with some of the Russian refugee participants

Rabbi Yisrael Reich, model Seder leader and JFS intern, leaning while drinking the wine, and Tamar Danzger, JFS clinician, translating the Seder into Russian

Jewish Family Service and Children’s Center of Clifton-Passaic held their annual model Seder for Russian immigrants on Tuesday, March 28. This long-standing tradition dates back to when JFS Clifton’s primary focus was helping resettle Russian immigrants in the greater Clifton-Passaic area. As Pesach is a time when we recount our ancestors’ journey from slavery to freedom, each year JFS Clifton holds a model Seder to commemorate these Russian families’ own journey to freedom. In preparation for this year’s seder, Credit Suisse Bank employees volunteered their time to prepare an abbreviated Haggadah in Russian. Rabbi Yisrael Reich, a JFS intern, led the model Seder, and JFS clinician Tamar Danzger translated into Russian. Shira Gudama and Shira Stengel from Ateres Bais Yaakov of Rockland County and Meira Geyser from Bruriah High School volunteered at the seder and made sure all the participants had everything they needed throughout the evening, and served the delicious meal catered by Main Ingredient. The grape juice was generously donated from the JFCS of Northern New Jersey’s Kosher for Passover Food Pantry. All the participants agreed the highlight was when Yossie Neuman and the Yeshiva K’tana of Passaic Boys Choir sang Pesach songs. As always, all the Russians had a fabulous time and appreciated the opportunity to reconnect with each other as well as to recount their own personal redemption. Although the number of attendees has declined over time as the refugees have aged, this long-standing JFS tradition benefits those who are still able to participate socially and spiritually. JFS Clifton may no longer help to resettle refugees; however, it has never swayed from its mission of helping to support and strengthen families at every stage of their lives.