Passover during a pandemic

Dear BWC Community,
This week we begin preparing for Passover amidst a global pandemic that is keeping us from celebrating in our usual traditions. We remember our ancestors who moved through many unknown narrow places, from Egypt to pogroms to sweatshops, always with their bodies, hearts, and minds pointing toward freedom. This Peysakh, let us feel in our bones that our liberation is bound up together.
This year, we’re faced with more than just our traditional four questions. What signs of hope are you noticing in this time? How does the chat feature work on Zoom? How can we support the thousands of workers who are going on strike: nationally against Amazon , Whole Foods, and InstaCart , and locally in Lynn at General Electric where workers are fighting to use their facilities to make lifesaving ventilators, rather than sitting idle? How can we show gratitude to the store clerks, the postal workers, the sanitation workers, the health care workers who are making it possible for all of us to get our basic needs met in this time? 
Peysakh is an apt time to sit with these conflicting truths: connection & isolation, hope & uncertainty. As we retell the story of our ancestors moving from bondage to freedom, we’re asked to remember their suffering and celebrate their journey to a better life. 
I hope you’ll join us for our annual Seder this Sunday as we observe this ancient holiday in a very new way. We don’t know where wandering through this virtual desert will take us, but we know we can only get there together. Below you'll find dozens of ways to stay connected to the BWC community this month through our meetings, events, ways to take action, and important news of our mishpokhe.
From all of us at BWC, we wish you and your loved ones a zissen Peysakh, a joyful, meaningful and healthy Passover. 
With love and solidarity,
Jen Kiok, Executive Director


Register now for our Community Seder
Community Passover Seder from Home
Sunday, April 5, 4:30pm - 5:30 pm, on Zoom
Log in available at 4:15; Seder starting promptly at 4:30
Join us over Zoom for a one-of-a-kind secular Seder experience, featuring BWC's original ever-evolving Hagaddah, progressive tradition, social justice and singing. Although we can't join together in-person this year, BWC's ritual committee and others are working hard on crafting a service centered around community. We're excited to see everyone's faces on the screen!
Along with the Zoom information, participants will also be emailed:
1) a virtual Haggadah to follow along with from home
3) instructions on how to create your own Seder plate!
Staff are available to support anyone who wants to learn more about Zoom before the Seder.
Please try to register by this Friday, April 3. Registration starting at $5; no one ever turned away for lack of funds. Learn more .
P.S. Since this year's Seder is taking place online, you can invite family and friends both near and far to join. Parents in California? Cousins in New York? All are welcome!
Upcoming events to enjoy from home
Jewish Muslim Solidarity Committee Meeting
Thursday, April 2, 7:00pm on Zoom
Through political action, relationship building, and community education, the Jewish Muslim Solidarity Committee (JMSC) works to build relationships among Jews and Muslims in Greater Boston and joins with the Muslim community in opposing Islamophobia in all its manifestations. Learn more .
Yiddish Reading Group
Friday, April 3, 10, 17 & 24, 10:30am - 12:00pm on Zoom
We are presently reading a book of short and delightful stories by Kadia Molodowsky, "A Shtub mit Zibn Fenster." The book is available for free download at the Yiddish Book Center . Learn more .
Zoom Golly Golly! A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Shabes
Friday, April 17, 7:00pm on Zoom
The Shabes Committee invites the BWC community to a Shabes which will include readings, songs, secular ritual blessings, and good conversations. In the small group time, we will recount moments that have lightened our current burdens, by appreciating the helpers, and by telling some plain old fashioned Jewish jokes. Learn more & register.
Yiddish Committee Meeting
Monday, April 20, 6:00pm on Zoom
The Yiddish Committee will talk more about program planning, both for upcoming programs and potential future programs. Learn more .
Yiddish Sing
Thursday, April 23, 7:30pm on Zoom
Digitally drop in for this informal monthly gathering to learn and sing Yiddish folk songs. All are welcome, regardless of singing ability or knowledge of Yiddish. Learn more .
Circle Playtime
Sunday, April 26, 11:30am-11:50am on Zoom
Circle Playtime is a free monthly playgroup for children ages 0-4 and their parents. It will include a read-aloud for Passover, and followed by music in another Zoom room. To learn more, contact BWC Education Director Meira Soloff, & check the calendar page closer to the event for the Zoom link. Pass along to interested grandkids or families in your life!
Virtual May Day Shabes af Yidish
Friday, May 1, 7:00pm on Zoom
This won't be exactly like the past Shabosim. It will be completely in Yiddish and be a way to celebrate May Day and Shabes, and to gather online af yidish. Learn more.
Circle Book Group
Sunday, May 3, 10:15am - 12:15pm on Zoom
In May, the Circle Book Group is discussing Sarak Kaminsky's Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life (nonfiction) . At the age of 17, Adolfo Kaminsky had narrowly escaped deportation to Auschwitz and was living in Nazi-occupied Paris, using forged documents to hide in plain sight. Due to his expert knowledge of dyes and his ability to masterfully reproduce official documents with an artistic eye, he was recruited to join the Jewish underground . Learn more .
Note: In our current time, events and plans have had to adapt quickly. There are exciting April events that are still emerging, and not listed here yet. Please check our website calendar for updates, and keep an eye out for the mid-month newsletter.
News of the Mishpokhe (Community News)
Life news? Actions to share? Graduation? Promotion? Simcha? What's new? Email Madeleine,, to have it shared with the community.
As a member-centered community founded on the principles of mutual aid, Boston Workers Circle is well-positioned to take care of each other in this moment. We care about you, and right now, community care looks like checking in on one another. Our goal is to call all of our members. You can expect a call from a BWC member leader in the next week. Of course, feel free to reach out to us first! Email our cultural worker & member organizer, Maddy Popkin,, with questions, concerns, ideas about support, or interest in being a part of the mutual aid effort.
The Boston Workers Circle comprehensive Zoom guide is here. Many tutorials only focus on computers, so those using phones & tablets may find it particularly helpful. It's long because it has instructions & screenshots for computers, tablets, and phones (which are all, unfortunately, a little bit different). People should click to the section that they need from the table of contents on the first page. Feel free to share .
We need your recipe! Although we can't provide ritual foods or the potluck meal in-person this year, we can provide recipes digitally so you can make your own soup, and get/give ideas for Seder meals. Share your favorite recipe (or two) with the BWC community .
Please submit by this Wednesday, April 1 - a fun way to spend 10 minutes of your evening. Questions? Email Madeleine Jackman,
BWC Immigrant Justice & Sanctuary Committee has launched a GoFundMe to help continue their work in supporting recent detainees and other immigrants in need, many of whom are in dire financial situations because of the shutdown. Support the most vulnerable of our neighbors .
The Union for Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees, with many members from low-income and immigrant communities, is asking people to take action and tell Congress to prioritize workers . Thousands of union workers in New England have lost/could be losing their jobs because of the COVID-19 Crisis. Take action here .
To Zoom or not to Zoom? Boston Workers Circle's virtual Seder was mentioned in a lovely Boston Globe piece about how local communities are celebrating Passover this year. Read the full Boston Globe article here .
From April 22 to 24, youth activists and adults are coming together for Earth Day Live, a three-day live stream event focused on climate action. Earth Day Live is a mobilization that aims to engage people across the country and the world in collective action to protect their climate and communities. The live stream will include training sessions, performances, and appearances to keep people engaged, informed, and inspired, with speakers including celebrities, politicians, scientists, and youth activists. Sign up to join:
YIVO is offering a 16 session free online course exploring the Jewish dimension of avant-garde literature . Starting on April 20. Learn more .
Support local, inter-generational performers exploring the question, "What does it mean to be Jewish today?" (featuring BWC member & artwork by Nickolas Faynshteyn!). Watch "Creating Our Stories: A Jewish Theater Project" tonight. Learn more.
Support a Zayin student's organizing: " As part of my Bat Mitzvah project, I became a volunteer leader for Jews for a Secular Democracy (JFASD) an organization dedicated to democratic causes from a Jewish point of view.
I am advocating for vulnerable communities economic stability through this time of hardship that the COVID-19 outbreak brings, and making sure these vulnerable communities stay safe and protected long after this outbreak subsides.
Please sign the petition I made- you can find more information about this cause in the link.
Thanks so much for your support,
Ilana Schwartz, Shule Zayin class member"
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