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Hebrew College Passover Companion

The Hebrew College Passover Companion offers a pathway into one of our central ritual moments—the Passover seder. The Companion is structured around the simanim, or signposts, of the seder, bringing you from the ritual’s beginning, through the meal, and to its closing. We hope it will generate new questions and new conversations around your own seder table—and that you will be touched and surprised by the many ways we can tell our story of liberation.

Listen to an Excerpt

“Karpas promises that the renewal unfolding in the world around us will come just as insistently to our own lives, to the places that have frozen over in our own weary and wary hearts. Even in the darkest times and narrowest places, there is a song in our souls waiting to well up again.”

At this overwhelming moment for our community and our world, we invite you to listen to an excerpt of Hebrew College President Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld reading Karpas, a piece she wrote for the new Hebrew College Passover Companion.

Our Contributors

The Hebrew College Passover Companion represents a unique collaboration among faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of Hebrew College. Following after the Hebrew College High Holiday Companion, it offers a pathway into another of our central ritual moments—the Passover seder. Rachel Adelman, Jane L. Kanarek, and Gail Twersky Reimer, editors.

By Rabbi Gray Myrseth An excerpt from the new Hebrew College Passover Companion

Bitter Water Sweet

The children of Israel walked on dry land in the midst of the sea and the water was like a wall to their right and to their left. (Exodus 14:29)

No question The sea took us in to our necks before doubt
could claim our sound Who could unswim a sea-stretch then
No wonder No willing knees unbuckled
No plea unspent No higher ground

Cry mercy Cry shallow Cry harbor
Cry ancestor Cry warning Cry surface
Cry rescue Cry with an outstretched hand
The sea will swallow all your noise

Ask nothing of the crossing that mountains don’t ask of valleys
Ask nothing that moons don’t ask of the tide
Give me unedged wilderness I will take it in as remedy

This song’s initial phoneme sears the tree of your lungs
They say a certain branch can render bitter water sweet
A certain refrain can leech poison from the wound

Don’t stop now Keep going

Honoring Judith Kates

Published in March 2020, this collection emerged out of a desire to honor longtime, esteemed faculty member, friend and colleague, Dr. Judith Kates. Professor, author, teacher, and scholar, Kates stands among the pioneers of contemporary Jewish women reclaiming their Jewish literary heritage by bringing a feminist perspective to the interpretation of classical Jewish texts.Read more about Judith Kates and the publication