A few Passover Seders ago, after a delicious meal, my son declined dessert, a lovely chocolate treat. I'd never seen him pass up sweets before.

"I'm only eating Fair Trade chocolate," he explained. And then it dawned on me - we had just spent the evening retelling the story of our liberation from slavery only to eat chocolates produced by slaves.

On Passover, Jews all over the world gather with friends and families to remember the moment of our liberation. The Torah instructs us to explain to our children - "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt."

At Jewish LearningWorks, we believe in Jewish education that illuminates our lives, that connects the wisdom of our tradition to the world we live in.

The Seder - its rituals, narrative, prayers, and songs - helps us remember what slavery felt like - to fuel gratitude for our liberation and to remind us not to oppress the stranger, for we were once strangers in Egypt. The Haggadah calls upon us to not avert our eyes from bondage in the form of human trafficking.

Slavery remains very much alive in our world and in our lives. In fact, abolitionists assert that there are more than 20 million people in some form of slavery today - more than at the peak of the slave trade two centuries ago.

We found some slave-free resources to help us create a more meaningful Passover, so we might learn from our experience and tradition, shed light on contemporary slavery and trafficking, and be guided on steps we can take to abolish slavery. We'd like to share them with you.

These include:

We are indebted to our friends at Fair Trade Judaica and at T'ruah  for their leadership and partnership in preparing these materials. We hope you find them useful.

Many in our community are getting involved in efforts to fight  human trafficking and slavery - through their synagogues, schools, or through the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition. 

There are many ways each of us can help to abolish slavery and trafficking.  If you want to learn more, here are a few ways you can get more involved:

  • The National Council of Jewish Women is hosting a Distance Learning Call on Ending Human Trafficking - Thursday, April 3, 10 AM Pacific Time. Learn more here. 
  • To learn more about local efforts - contact your synagogue to join or create a synagogue-based anti-trafficking committee or contact the Bay Area Anti-Trafficking Coalition at: www.baatc.org.  Or reach out to me by replying to his email.
To a liberating  and joyous Passover,



David Waksberg

CEO, Jewish LearningWorks

How do you make Passover special? 
What are the traditions at your Seder?
Visit our DIY Passover page for our Guide to leading a seder, books to borrow from the Passover Pushcart Passover lesson plans, project ideas and articles and more for educators and families.
We invite you to browse through several samples of "Freedom Haggadot" and other resources with the hope that you will find a way to incorporate them into your Seders.
Read about two of the most widespread examples of Haggadot dating back to the Middle Ages: the Birds' Head Haggadah and the Sarajevo Haggadah. 
Visit our DIY section for more holiday resources. 

You've read the book, now meet the author!

Join the community to meet Dara Horn and hear her speak about A Guide for the Perplexed at one or both of our closing programs:

Robert Scoble

Dara Horn

Lori Starr

Dara Horn in conversation with tech blogger Robert Scoble  

Wednesday, April 30 at 7pm with a welcome reception from 6pm
at the Oshman Family JCC, Palo Alto Click here for ticket info.

Co-sponsored with the  Oshman Family JCC and the Jewish High Tech Community


Dara Horn in conversation with Lori Starr
Executive Director of The Contemporary Jewish Museum  

Thursday, May 1 at 7 pm with a welcome reception from 6pm
at the  Jewish Community Library, San Francisco 
Free, but an RSVP is requested. 
Please email us or call 415.567.3327 x 703

Co-presented by The Contemporary Jewish Museum


For continually updated materials and resources for Jewish LearningWorks' One Bay One Book, visit the website, and like us on Facebook.


If you have already taken part in a One Bay One Book discussion group this year, please give us your feedback by filling out this survey.


Thank you for making the first year of the Kesher Family Concierge initiative such a huge success!  With your help, we can reach even further by connecting more families and by connecting with your family more deeply.

Contribute to the cause? Please Click Here To Donate Now!
Attention Educators 
We're offering scholarships for Limmud!
Jewish LearningWorks is developing an educators stream at Limmud. To make it easier for educators to attend, we're offering subsidies of up to $100. All applicants are encouraged to request matching support from their schools. 
Simply use discount code JewishLearningWorks at checkout.
This subsidy from Jewish LearningWorks is offered through the generous support of the Milton and Sophie Meyer Fund. 
Will you attend the 
Phantom Ball?  

No muss, no fuss, no fancy gown.  
Celebrate your commitment to Jewish learning in our community
 when you give online today!

Each month, through June, watch here for a deeper look into one of our areas of focus.  
We work to enhance innovation, collaboration and learning to support efforts to provide deep education to our communities' youth.

Alli Darrow is a Youth First coordinator at Jewish Family and Children's Services. Her participation in the Teen Educator Network, which meets at Jewish LearningWorks, helps strengthen her abilities as an educator so she can better serve the next generation of Jewish leaders. Jewish LearningWorks launched the Teen Educator Network to ensure that Teen educators have access to ongoing professional development and networking opportunities.


"It's easy for each of us to feel isolated in our own organization. But at the meetings, we learn what is going on across the whole spectrum, and we can even connect our teens with other programs." She appreciates that "along with professional development, we also get the chance to improve connections in the community as a whole."

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April 2014 / 
Nissan 5

Karaite Jews 

Thursday April 03
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Jewish Community Library 

The only active Karaite synagogue in North America is in the Bay Area. The holiday of Passover highlights some of their unique customs; Lichaa will discuss holiday traditions and Karaite observances based on his personal experiences and from interviewing elderly members of the Karaite community about their lives in Egypt.


Thursday, April 3 
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM ET

On The Phone 

In advance of the Passover holiday, we invite you to join NCJW's distance learning call on modern day slavery - human trafficking - to learn how you can make a difference in our community. 


Hebrew Storytelling

Sunday April 06

11:00AM - 12:00PM

Jewish Community Library

Children ages five and younger will enjoy singing, playing, and listening to stories that will awaken their imagination and a love for books. 

Sunday April 06 
12:00PM - 2:00PM
Jewish Community Library
Take advantage of the Library's extensive reference collection and Internet connection to countless searchable databases - all with one-on-one guidance from experienced genealogists.  
Sunday April 06
12:00PM - 4:30PM
Peninsula Temple Sholom
Join Rabbi Bradley Artson for a day of education, community building and resource sharing for clergy, educators, professionals, lay leaders, parents and other caregivers, and interested community members. 


Yoga Passover for Liberation

Sunday April 06 

1:00PM - 3:30PM

Namaste Rockridge

Explore the story of Exodus with the practice of Yoga as inspiration.  This will not be a traditional observance of Passover or a typical yoga class but an exploration of the spiritual meaning of freedom in our lives through a combination of reading, writing and movement. 


Maimonides: The Rabbi, the Philosopher, the Man with Nitzhia Shaked

Sunday April 06
9:30AM - 11:30AM 
Temple Sinai

Join Nitzhia Shaked as she explores the life of this unique person and discusses the story of his life as woven in his significant contribution as Rabbi, codifier and outstanding thinker.      


And the Feast Goes On: Jewish Approaches to Christianity with Rabbi Ari Cartun

Tuesday April 08
12:00PM - 1:00PM
Jewish LearningWorks' Peninsula Learning Center

This class will look at Jewish Biblical texts that are central to Christian thought and explore the differing interpretations of these texts by Jews and Christians.  


Thursday, April 10
6:30PM - 8:00PM
Jewish LearningWorks
We will harness the power of the arts and explore ways to inspire and engage participants through a variety of creative forms. 

Sunday, April 13
2:00PM - 5:00PM
4th Street Yoga
Join us for a gentle, Iyengar-based yoga practice rooted in Jewish mystical teachings. Celebrate freedom and spring at this time on the Jewish Calendar by connecting all levels of being: mind, body, heart and spirit.


Yoga and Wholeness: With a Jewish Twist

Wednesday April 23
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Peninsula Jewish Community Center

6-session series

Experience the groundedness of a gentle Iyengar-based yoga series informed by the themes of renewal, purification and reflection as related to the holidays on the Jewish Calendar at this time. 
Thursday April 24
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Jewish Community Library

A presentation by Julie Draskoczy. Draskoczy's new book, offers a glimpse into the prisoners' daily experiences at Belomor by examining never-before-published archival materials. The talk will highlight Odessa, the Jewish "City of Thieves," by looking at the criminal song "Music Is Playing in the Moldavanka." 



Sunday April 27
9:30AM - 11:30AM
Congregation Shir Hadash  
Join Dr. Biale for a lively discussion examining how American Jewish culture has portrayed intermarriage and what this portrayal tells us about how American Jews see their relationship to America generally. We will also discuss the recent Pew study of American Jews which has shown the rate of intermarriage at about 60%, and ask what this study may tell us about the Jewish future.
Sunday April 27 
9:00AM - 1:30PM
Peninsula Temple Sholom
Join Ken Blady as he takes us on a journey through the history of Eastern European Jewry from the arrival of the German Ashkenazim in the eleventh century to the assassination of Czar Alexander II and the mass stampede to the New Worlds.


Thoughts on a Critical Understanding of the Jewish Past

Sunday April 27
9:30AM - 11:30AM
Temple Sinai
Many of us wonder about the beginnings of Judaism. Join Dr. Aranoff as we discuss central questions about the Jewish past, present and future.   
Sunday, April 27
2:00PM - 4:30PM
Peninsula Temple Sholom

The third of four sessions for Navigating Difference, Embracing Inclusion:Opening Your Synagogue Door Even Wider.


Tuesday April 29

9:30AM - 11:00AM

San Francisco Jewish Community Federation

Explore the key findings and implications of Seeds of Opportunity: A National Study of Immersive Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE), a national study of professionals and participants in connection with immersive JOFEE experiences. 


Sunday May 18
1:00PM - 7:30PM
Oshman Family JCC
The Feast of Jewish Learning is an afternoon of community, connection and learning including: 
L'ag B'Omer Celebration and Activities, Young Family Experiential Learning, Music, Art and Performances. It's Sunday afternoon, so everyone can attend!

Visit Our 

Event Calendar and 

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for more details

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