First Passover Seder in New Jewish Community Center

KINGSTON, Pa. -- Members of the Jewish community spent the day Friday preparing for the annual Seder dinner.

Barbara Sugarman has been overseeing the Seder dinner for two decades at the Friedman Jewish Community Center in Luzerne County.

The traditional Passover meal brings members of the Jewish faith together each spring, but this time, it's in a new location.

The Friedman JCC just opened its brand-new building in Kingston just two weeks ago.

"It's just so wonderful that we get to show off this beautiful new facility to the community, and I think people will really enjoy it and find it a lot more comfortable than the old 65-year-old building," said David Schwager, board of directors, Friedman JCC.

The traditional Seder commemorates the night the Jewish people fled Egypt for freedom. The meal includes eggs, which represent birth, vegetables for the coming of spring, and horseradish for its bitterness. It also includes unleavened bread.

"When the Jewish slaves left Egypt, they didn't have time for their bread to rise," said Schwager.

"We don't use flour, and we don't use yeast in anything, so everything is made with matzo or matzo meal, so there's a little bit of a challenge to it," said Barbara Sugarman, cultural director, Friedman JCC.

More than 200 people are expected to gather for the very first Seder in the new building.

"The dinner will begin with gefilte fish and matzo ball soup and stuffed chicken breasts, roasted potatoes, carrots, and finish with a lemon roll," explained Sugarman.

While the Seder tradition revolves around food, it's community and faith that brings all to the table.

"Passover more than anything else is the moment where family and friends, loved ones, even people who are not even identifiably Jewish, will reach out for a Passover Seder. That's why tonight you will have 200 people here in our beautiful new building," said Rabbi David Kaplan, Temple Israel.

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