Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County is making sure everyone has somewhere to celebrate this Passover. The women launched a Passover Seder Matching program as part of Shalom San Diego – Federation’s new initiative that aims to transform San Diego into the most welcoming Jewish community in the nation.
The women collaborated with more than 25 local community partners and congregations to ensure everyone had a Seder to attend. They also launched a Passover Seder Matching program, which connected individuals seeking a more intimate Seder experience to the homes of host families.
Ten generous host families volunteered to host Seders in their homes, and a warm welcome was extending to more than 50 people – mostly new residents to San Diego and those seeking to become more involved in Jewish life. Here’s what participants had to say:
“I was so glad that my son and I had somewhere to go for Passover,” said one program participant. We felt very left out on Rosh Hashanah and ended up eating dinner at Elijah’s in La Jolla. This holiday was much better, and I loved meeting the other families at the Seder.”
“Opening up my home and inviting families with no place to go for Passover was a total no brainer, it’s just part of being Jewish and embracing tradition,” said Silvana Christy, the program’s co-chair. “Hosting strangers at my Passover Seder table gave me a very warm feeling, and it was important for me because I was able to show my children that the Jewish holidays are about including others.”
One host, Cheryl Horn, an active leader and volunteer in the San Diego Jewish community, hosted 22 newcomers.
“I was pleased to host and be a part of such a pleasant Seder, which lasted until 1:30 in the morning!” said Cheryl. “Despite the various levels of affiliation and mixed age range – which I very much appreciated – everyone participated and expressed interest in learning about Passover customs, even the gentlemen who had never been to a Seder before. In fact, the unplanned educational component of the Seder was my favorite part, as my husband and I loved answering the outpour of questions that we received from our intrigued guests. All night, I witnessed meaningful connections being made, making for a unique and very special Seder.”
“The success of the Passover Seder Matching program is just the most recent example – one of the many – that demonstrates a strong desire and shared vision on behalf of our local community— i.e., the need to be a more welcoming, connected, and inclusive Jewish community, in order to maintain a vibrant and sustainable Jewish community for our children and for their children,” said Lisa Kala, Director of Women’s Philanthropy. “ I want to personally thank all community partners, volunteers, hosts, and program co-chairs for opening your homes and hearts this Passover.”
All of this is only possible thanks to your generosity. Together, WE do extraordinary things.