First Passover Seder observed at new JCC in Kingston

By Patrick Kernan - [email protected]
Deana Manzoni, left, passes gefilte fish to Bruce Lefkowitz, both of Kingston, during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening.  Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Deana Manzoni, left, passes gefilte fish to Bruce Lefkowitz, both of Kingston, during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Rosemary Chromey, of Wilkes-Barre, center, says the Shehecheyanu as she lights the Passover seder candles with Rabbi Larry Kaplan, left, and Cantor Ahron Abraham at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening.  Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Rosemary Chromey, of Wilkes-Barre, center, says the Shehecheyanu as she lights the Passover seder candles with Rabbi Larry Kaplan, left, and Cantor Ahron Abraham at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Four-year-old Avery Lantz and her mom Kiera, both of Kingston, open Passover stickers during the seder meal Friday evening at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston.	 Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Four-year-old Avery Lantz and her mom Kiera, both of Kingston, open Passover stickers during the seder meal Friday evening at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston. - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
Andie Gray, 8, left, and her brother Kevin McCawley, 6, both of Sugarloaf Township, hold glasses of grape juice during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader Andie Gray, 8, left, and her brother Kevin McCawley, 6, both of Sugarloaf Township, hold glasses of grape juice during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. - - Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

KINGSTON — In one way, it was a celebration of thousands of years worth of tradition.

In another way, as people gathered at the new Jewish Community Center in Kingston for its first Passover Seder, a new tradition was born on Friday.

The Jewish holiday of Passover has been celebrated for over 3,000 years, with Jews worldwide remembering the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery by God under the leadership of Moses, as told in the Book of Exodus.

This year, the multi-day holiday began on Friday night, and continues until sundown on April 27.

Dr. Seth Kauffer, a board member for the Jewish Community Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania, spoke on the dual meaning of the holiday for the local Jewish community this year.

“It’s a very special time of year, celebrating the rebirth of the Jews as they were freed from Egypt,” Kauffer said.

Additionally, though, it was the first Seder meal to be celebrated in the new JCC, located on Third Avenue in Kingston, which was first opened earlier this year.

Kauffer said the attendance of the Seder meal was record-breaking — all 200 tickets were sold for the meal, double what was sold last year.

David Lantz, the JCA’s board president, was thrilled to have the Seder in the new building.

“Exciting; I don’t have another word available,” Lantz said with a beaming smile.

In the dining room, Rabbi Larry Kaplan led the faithful through the meal. Each piece of food on the table has some symbolic value — a lamb shank represents the lamb Jews in Egypt ate while the Angel of Death visited Egyptians; matzah bread recalls the unleavened bread made while the Jewish slaves were quickly preparing for their Exodus.

What’s more, the food needs to be eaten in a particular order; the word “Seder” means “order” in Hebrew, Kaplan said.

Kaplan said that the Passover meal is about more than just remembering the past; as it reminds the faithful that there are still metaphorical Egypts to escape from to bring everyone closer to God.

“Why do we do this every single year if not to think about what’s wrong and to make things better?” Kaplan asked.

“We need to find out what we can do to make things better so no one has to suffer.”

Deana Manzoni, left, passes gefilte fish to Bruce Lefkowitz, both of Kingston, during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/web1_TTL042019Passover_1.jpgDeana Manzoni, left, passes gefilte fish to Bruce Lefkowitz, both of Kingston, during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Rosemary Chromey, of Wilkes-Barre, center, says the Shehecheyanu as she lights the Passover seder candles with Rabbi Larry Kaplan, left, and Cantor Ahron Abraham at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/web1_TTL042019Passover_2.jpgRosemary Chromey, of Wilkes-Barre, center, says the Shehecheyanu as she lights the Passover seder candles with Rabbi Larry Kaplan, left, and Cantor Ahron Abraham at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Four-year-old Avery Lantz and her mom Kiera, both of Kingston, open Passover stickers during the seder meal Friday evening at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/web1_TTL042019Passover_3.jpgFour-year-old Avery Lantz and her mom Kiera, both of Kingston, open Passover stickers during the seder meal Friday evening at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader

Andie Gray, 8, left, and her brother Kevin McCawley, 6, both of Sugarloaf Township, hold glasses of grape juice during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening.
https://www.timesleader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/web1_TTL042019Passover_4.jpgAndie Gray, 8, left, and her brother Kevin McCawley, 6, both of Sugarloaf Township, hold glasses of grape juice during the Passover seder at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Kingston on Friday evening. Bill Tarutis | For Times Leader
First Passover Seder observed at Kingston center

By Patrick Kernan

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan