The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Saturday, April 13, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Heart of the Matter April 2024

It is that time of year when we will soon gather around a table with family and friends to celebrate Pesach by sharing a meal, reading the stories of our ancestors, and performing rituals that connect all of us together. Community and religious connections are important for everyone, but especially for older adults. Jewish Family Service offers a Senior Seder the Thursday prior to Passover every year. The Senior Seder offers a daytime lunch option, since many older adults have difficulty driving at night and evening seders typically go late. We use an abbreviated, large print Haggadah made with older adults in mind.  

Most importantly, the Senior Seder is truly a community affair. Each of the Nashville synagogues takes a turn sending a Rabbi to lead the service. Last year Rabbi Flip led the service alongside Cantor Josh Goldberg, both from Congregation Micah, and this year Rabbi Kullock from West End Synagogue will lead the service. Last year classes from the Gordon JCC preschool and Akiva performed musical numbers, and decorations and favors were provided by the JCC preschool, the Temple religious school, and the religious school at Congregation Micah. The love and connection of the entire Nashville Jewish Community can be seen and felt throughout the event. 

Last year was my first Senior Seder with JFS. What stood out to me the most about the Senior Seder was the effort and care that the older adults put into it. Gentlemen who usually wear jeans and t-shirts wore slacks and sport coats; women broke out their favorite accessories. Older adults who I had never met attended and said that this event is the one event that they always make it out of the house for. The room was full of joy and laughter. As the kids performed, the older adults talked about being reminded of their children doing similar activities, some even had grandchildren who were there performing. I heard the phrase “I remember when...” countless times, as the seniors shared stories of their lives with each other.  

This year will be our 16th Senior Seder. Drs. David and Lynn Barton help make this event possible in memory of their mothers, Hannah Kayser Palmer and Fannie Leone Barton. It seems fitting to honor these women with the same regard that we honor all our ancestors during the seder. The Senior Seder will be held on April 18 at 11:30 am at the Gordon JCC. The cost to attend is $10 per person. RSVPs are required. We are always looking for volunteers to help with set-up, serve food, and clean up as well. If you would like to RSVP or volunteer, you can contact Jamie Maresca at or (615) 354-1686.  

Jamie Maresca 

Helping Hands Program Coordinator 



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