March 2018 -- Adar-Nisan 5778,  Volume 24, Issue 3

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Fran Osinoff

WRJ Sisterhood Presents Seder from Women’s Perspective

By Stephen E. Lipken


Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) at Westchester Reform Temple (WRT), Scarsdale, guided by their WRJ Women’s Seder Haggadah will retell the Passover story from the feminine point of view at their 18th Annual Women’s Seder, paying tribute to the daughters of Israel on Thursday, March 22 at WRT at 6:00 p.m.


“In more traditional Hagagadot, retelling the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, has been from a masculine perspective,” Seder Chair Karen Frommer explained.  “The voices of the heroic Biblical women so important to this Passover story have gone unheard.


“WRJ Seder pays tribute to…Shifrah and Puah, the midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh’s orders and refused to kill newborn Jewish babies; Jocheved, who devised a plan to save her son Moses; sister Miriam who watched over him and Pharaoh’s daughter Batya who rescued Moses from the Nile and raised him.


“The Seder tables are named after women leaders (including Jocheved, Queen Esther and matriarchs Ruth, Rachel and Sarah).  Guided in prayer and song by Cantors Jill Abramson and Amanda Kleinman, women of  all generations, diverse cultures and religions come together to share this ritual meal, dancing with tambourines as Miriam did…led by Fran Osinoff around a huppah (wedding canopy) emblazoned with the same design as the Haggadah cover.


“Osinoff was inspired by attending the Ma’yan Women’s Seder in 2000 (Ma’yan is the Jewish Women’s Project of the JCC of the Upper West Side in Manhattan).  Under the WRJ presidency of Sondra Older, Fran chaired the first Women’s Seder in 2001 and helped create our own WRJ Haggadah in 2004.


“Besides the traditional Seder Plate’s symbolic foods such as Pesach (lamb shank), matzah (unleavened bread) and Maror (bitter herbs), WRJ Seder Plate includes an orange, signifying that there is a place for all at the Seder regardless of gender or sexual orientation to let our lives be inclusive, welcoming and fruitful.


“The Seder Plate also includes olives, representing the olive branch, the hope for peace that has not yet come to this world,” Frommer concluded.