The Third Seder, 2021

Mar 21 - 2021

The 2nd annual virtual Third Seder, celebrating the inspiring Passover story as well as the worldwide revival of Yiddish culture, will take place on Sunday, March 21, 2pm EST. A global audience of thousands will again log in to celebrate Passover with a unique re-telling of the Passover story, interwoven with the eternal Jewish story of striving for freedom, dignity and equality, as told in the thousand year old language and culture of Yiddish.  To register for this free 90 minute event, please sign up here: https://mmjccm.org/programs/third-seder-yiddish-passover-celebration

The Third Seder will feature performances by leading Yiddish music and theater stars from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland, Australia and Israel. It is produced by the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, with lead sponsorship from The National Yiddish Theatre, and co-sponsorship by many of the world’s most prominent Yiddish cultural and educational institutions including The Forward, The Yiddish Book Center, Ashkenaz, KlezKanada and others.

“Telling the story with Yiddish songs and poetry brings our history alive,” says the events chief organizer Rabbi Avram Mlotek, who leads the Base Community and is the rabbi in residence at the Marlene Meyerson Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. “Since Passover is not till March 27th, we hope this virtual offering which is airing a week before the holiday, will allow people from Melbourne to Manhattan an opportunity to incorporate songs or poems from our seder into their own family Passover celebrations. Though we can’t gather in person physically, we can still come together virtually,” Mlotek said. 

The Third Seder follows a tradition begun in the 1960’s by young survivors of the Holocaust who strove to express their communal resilience and that of their beloved mother-tongue in a unique stage performance by the Yiddish cultural luminaries of the day.  Those Third Seders often took place in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, under the auspices of the Workers Circle/ Arbiter-Ring  and its visionary Education Director Joseph Mlotek.

In April 2020, as the world sank into the frightening reality of the pandemic and the isolation it inflicted on communities and individuals, Rabbi Avram Mlotek, the grandson of Joseph Mlotek, initiated the first online Yiddish cultural Third Seder, with the same motivation that drove his “zeyde” to uplift his community in the face of suffering and existential challenge. Rabbi Mlotek, with his cousin and longtime concert producer, Moishe Rosenfeld, quickly assembled actors, musicians, and activists, and oversaw an innovative international collaboration that attracted 20,000 viewers (17k on Facebook, 3k on Youtube), and was welcomed as a bright light of hope and resilience in the dark days of illness, loss and despair. Related press here

A year later, as we continue to battle the pandemic, and as some rays of hope begin to shine through the darkness, a cast of brilliant Yiddish artists has once again been assembled to tell the story of the Jewish People, its moments of liberation from bondage, its resilience in the face of inquisitions and pogroms, its resistance to the genocide of the Holocaust, its continued determination to flourish as a nation in Israel, and as a culture around the world. 

Musical direction is by Zalmen Mlotek, artistic director of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene. The “fir kashes” (traditional four questions of the Hagode” will be performed by a children’s chorus of the Sholem Aleichem College in Melbourne, Australia. The 90-minute video will be edited by Elisha Mlotek.

Starring, in alphabetical order: Michael Alpert (Scotland), Shane Baker (USA), Alan Bern (Germany), Nicole Borger (Brazil), Joanne Borts (USA), Josh Dolgin (Canada), Sarah Gordon (USA), Adrienne Greenbaum (USA), Elmore James (USA), Daniel Kahn (Germany), Yanky Lemmer (USA), Marilyn Lerner (Canada), Frank London (USA), Shura Lupovsky, (Netherlands), Sahsa Lurie (Germany),  Avram Mlotek (USA), Sarah Mlotek (Israel), Zalmen Mlotek (USA), Ravi Mlotek (USA), Eleanor Reissa (USA), Joyce Rosenzweig (USA), Merlin Shepard (UK), Polina Shepard (UK), Dina Slepovitch (USA), Zisl Slepovitch (USA), Steven Skybell (USA), Lorin Sklamberg (USA), Eric Stein (Canada), Theresa Tova (Canada), Susan Lankin-Watts (USA), Tatiana Wechsler (USA), Steven Weintraub (USA), Michael Winograd (USA).

The following are the organizational sponsors of the 2nd Annual Yiddish Cultural Third Seder: 

Lead sponsorship from the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan and The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene:

Adrienne Cooper Fund for Dreaming in Yiddish (USA), Ashkenaz Festival (Canada),  Base MNHTN (USA), KlezKanada (Canada), The Forward, (USA) Forverts (USA), Kadimah – Jewish Cultural Centre (Australia), Jewish Labour Bund (Australia), National Yiddish Book Center, (USA) Sholem Aleichem College (Australia), Penina Zylberman Yiddish Cultural and Educational Foundation (Australia),  Kleztival (Brazil), Yiddish Summer Weimar (Germany),  Shalom Foundation and I. B. Singer Yiddish Festival in Warsaw (Poland), YUNG YiDiSH (Israel), , Shtetl Berlin (Germany), YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (USA),, Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, (USA), The Workers Circle Arbeter Ring (USA), Yiddish New York (USA), Vaybertaytsh (USA), Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre (Canada)

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