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Pesah (Passover) 2023

Passover is Zeman Heiruteinu, the Season of Our Freedom from Slavery in Egypt. The highlight of the festival is the Seder, the ritualized “retelling” of the story of the Exodus. We are guided by special songs, foods, and symbols—including matzah (unleavened bread), maror (bitter herbs), haroset (a tasty dish of apples, nuts, and wine), 4 cups of wine, and more. In preparation for the holiday, Jews take special care to clear their houses of hametz (leaven), which cannot be consumed throughout the eight–day festival. The liturgy of the first day of the holiday includes Tefilat Tal, the Prayer for Dew upon the conclusion of the rainy season in Israel. Services on the last day include the Yizkor memorial prayers, and each daily service includes a special Torah reading.


Rabbinical Assembly Pesah Guide

Click here for the 2023/5783 Pesah Guide. 

Online resources

Large Print Haggadot From the Jewish Braille Institute of America

Learn about the history and structure of the Haggadah at Check out these online Haggadah resources:

Traditional Haggadah by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner. Find other Passover materials including song parodies at his site,

Make your own Haggadah at

Feast of Freedom Passover Haggadah The Feast of Freedom is available in full as a free PDF. Print copies may be purchased here.

Passover Music by Cantor Josh Perlman 

Passover Parodies


Passover means something different for each of us, which is why we are offering three different ways to prepare yourself for Passover this year. The following workshops are three modalities through which you might connect to the manifold ways in which we prepare to celebrate the “season of our redemption.” Food, text, and art are three unique yet interrelated ways to celebrate Passover. Join us for one, two, or even all three!


“Taste of Israel” Series: My Mom’s Original 5-Colored Matzah Balls
Thursday, March 23
7:30–9:00 PM

Join Uriel Lin, Congregational Shlicha, for a workshop as we prepare for our yearly Passover seders. Uriel will talk about her family while walking you through her mom’s recipe for matzah balls in 5 colors. Click here to register.


The Missing Story of the Haggadah with Rabbi Joshua Cahan
Sunday, March 26
10:30 AM

We will explore why the Haggadah never actually “Tells the Story” and reassess how the crafters of this text actually understood the mitzvah of “You shall tell your children.” Then we will look at a few key sections to see how they fit together to chart out a compelling and powerful emotional journey. Including yes, we DO answer the question(s)–4 times! and, The Goat should have had the last laugh! This workshop is scheduled such that parents in our Lessans Talmud Torah can attend the session before picking up their children from class. Some of our Lessans Talmud Torah students will have the opportunity to learn with Rabbi Cahan earlier in the morning during Talmud Torah classes. Click here to register.


Art for your Seder with Jeanette Kuvin-Oren
Thursday, March 30
7:30 PM
Zoom Event

Jeanette is the artist who designed the beautiful Torah covers that adorn our sifrei Torah in Dweck Sanctuary, and she is a family friend of Rebecca Ravski and Rabbi Berkowitz. Join Jeanette on Zoom to learn about ideas for enhancing the beauty and interactivity of your seder. Ideas for all age groups and all skill levels will range from art projects to games and special foods. Click here to register. 

preparing for pesah

Mekhirat Hametz—Selling of Hametz

If one cannot completely remove all hametz from the home during Pesah, Jewish law
provides for the conditional sale of hametz to a non-Jew during Pesah. Upon the conclusion of
Pesah, the hametz reverts to its original owner. It is customary to make a contribution for
ma’ot hittin, providing Pesah food for the needy, when selling hametz. To appoint Rabbi
Berkowitz as your agent to sell your hametz by Tuesday, April 4, click here to download the paper form, or click here for the online formHametz will revert to its original owner at the conclusion of Pesah on Thursday evening, April 13.

B’dikat Hametz—The Search for Hametz, and Biur Hametz—Burning Hametz

The search for leavened bread takes place on Tuesday evening, April 4, after sunset. Members of the family, equipped with a lighted candle, go from room to room gathering crumbs of bread to ensure that the house has been cleansed of all hametz. Many families have a custom of hiding pieces of bread in order to guarantee that something may be found. 

Special b’dikat hametz sets (including a feather, spoon, candle, and instructions) are available from the Sisterhood Judaica Shop. The last time to eat hametz is 11:02 AM on Wednesday, April 5. Hametz must be destroyed before 12:06 PM.

Siyyum Bekhorot

Wednesday, April 5
7:15 AM

On Wednesday morning, April 5, all first-borns are urged to join the Siyyum Bekhorot following the 7:15 AM minyan. This observance reminds us that when the first-born of Egypt were slain during the Tenth Plague, the Israelite first-born were saved. In appreciation for this redemption, it is incumbent upon first-born Jewish males to fast on the day before Pesah. This responsibility is nullified when one celebrates the completion of text study.

At the siyyum, Rabbi Safra will celebrate the conclusion of Tractate Nazir, which he recently completed as part of the Daf Yomi cycle. This celebration of learning nullifies the obligation for first-borns to fast on the eve of Passover. We will conclude the siyyum with a Seudat Mitzvah, a celebratory meal provided through the generosity of Alan and Lisa Isenberg.


Passover Package Delivery: Project Hope
Sunday, April 2
9:00 AM–12:00 PM

Help us deliver Passover packages to seniors in the Rockville area. This year we will again be participating in the Project Hope Passover Delivery with JSSA on Sunday morning, April 2. We will be distributing the names and addresses of the recipients and the packages in the parking lot of B'nai Israel that morning. All volunteers are asked to wear masks when delivering. Packages need to be delivered by noon. Contact Signe Wetrogan for more information.

Matzah Brei Mania
Thursday, April 6
10:30 AM

What would Pesach be without matzah brei? Join us in the kitchen to crumble, mix and fry the matzahs. After we eat our yummy creations, join us for a brief youth service. Open to youth of all ages.

Second Night Congregational Seder 
with Cantor Josh & Rabbi Eli Perlman
Thursday, April 6
6:30 PM

Celebrate our freedom with your B’nai Israel family at this congregational seder, led by Cantor Josh Perlman and Rabbi Eli Perlman. A traditional, lively, and song-filled seder will include a delicious meal and the greatest humor of our very own Cantor Josh. Click here to register.

Pesah Pizza Party for Kiddush
Friday, April 7
During the Congregational Kiddush (approximately 11:45 AM)

Join us during kiddush for this annual tradition for the whole congregation. Make your own matzah pizza with your favorite toppings.

Tots Passover Party
Wednesday, April 12
10:30 AM

Families with young children (Pre-K and younger) are invited to celebrate the seventh day of Passover together with our B’nai Israel community. We will snack on your favorite Passover treats, sing the best Passover songs, and celebrate our freedom from Pharaoh! Click here to register.

service times & candlelighting

Wednesday, April 5
7:15 AM Morning Service and Siyyum Bekhorot
11:02 AM Stop Consuming Hametz
Burn Hametz by 12:06 PM
First Night
7:19 PM Candlelighting

Thursday, April 6
First Day of Pesah
9:15 AM Festival Service
10:00 AM Matzah Brei Mania
11:00 AM Youth Services
12:30 PM Minha  
6:30 PM Second Night Community Seder with Cantor Josh Perlman
Candlelighting is after 8:05 PM 

Friday, April 7
Second Day of Pesah
9:15 AM Festival Service
11:00 AM Youth Service
11:45 AM Pesah Pizza Party during Congregational Kiddush
6:15 PM Minha & Kabbalat Shabbat Services   

Tuesday, April 11
Erev Yom Tov
7:25 PM Candlelighting 
8:00 PM Festival Ma’ariv

Wednesday, April 12
Seventh Day of Pesah
9:00 AM Festival Service
10:30 AM Tots Passover Party
11:00 AM Youth Services
12:30 PM Minha 
8:00 PM Festival Ma’ariv  
Candlelighting is after 8:11 PM   

Thursday, April 13
Eighth Day of Pesah
9:00 AM Festival Service with Yizkor Prayers (11:00 AM)
11:00 AM Youth Services
12:30 PM Minha  
8:00 PM Ma’ariv
The festival ends at 8:12 PM.

*There will be no evening services at B’nai Israel on the seder nights, Wednesday, April 5, and Thursday, April 6. Contact Cantor Josh for copies of the evening service along with CDs of the chanting if you would like to conduct the Ma’ariv service on your own in your homes. 

sisterhood passover flowers

Enhance your holiday table or send flowers to a family member or friend. A beautiful flower arrangement always complements a holiday table. Let B’nai Israel Sisterhood do the legwork so you have less to think of during your holiday preparations. 

$65/arrangement (local delivery)
$70/arrangement (out of area delivery)

The deadline for ordering Passover flowers has been extended to Wednesday, March 22. Arrangements will arrive in time for the holiday. Click here to download the order form. For questions, contact Linda Heller (, 240-242-4040).

Thu, September 28 2023 13 Tishrei 5784