The Other Seder

How do you take one of the most well- known Jewish traditions and make it relevant and contemporary? How do you create an event that audiences can relate to and want to attend? Those were the challenges facing the JCC when thinking about the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The Seder is a family meal that takes place over one or two nights at the start of the holiday. It’s filled with ritual, tradition and stories and is (conveniently) divided into sections that can be reinterpreted in different ways.

Working with YaD Arts the JCC created “The Other Seder”.

Artists from various disciplines were commissioned to explore and re- imagine the different sections of the Seder. Over the past five years artists including Hofesh Shechter (contemporary dance); Blind Summit (puppets); Oi Va Voi and Los Desterrados (music) and Arnold Wesker, Eve Ensler, Amy Rosenthal and Ryan Craig (theatre) have created a new kind of Passover experience.

At the heart of The Other Seder was the desire to create something that captured the essence of the JCC brand – a series of annual events that looked at being Jewish in a new way by holding up a twenty-first century lens to the traditions and rituals. The Other Seder has now been established as a key date in the organisation’s calendar of events – drawing in crowds of all ages and backgrounds every year.

Photographs © Nigel Bewley