Merrick Jewish Centre hits the road for Passover


The Merrick Jewish Centre continued a tradition that it began last year with its “Amazing Passover Challenge” on Sunday, March 30. The challenge scattered about 100 people that morning between Freeport and Bellmore as they hunted for clues in a family-friendly race to the finish line.

The event, which MJC congregant Michael Fried and his 13-year-old daughter, Samantha, took lead roles in organizing, was loosely based on the TV show “The Amazing Race.” Twenty-five teams, comprised mostly of family members, started at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the MJC, where they received their first clue pointing them toward a local establishment. Thus began a chain of events in which participants visited Waldbaums and Levy Lakeside School in Merrick, Chocolate Works and Panera Bread in Bellmore, the INN, a soup kitchen in Freeport, and other locations to complete tasks and earn a clue directing them where to go next. At Waldbaums, MJC volunteers gave them Waldbaums gift cards and a shopping list of food items to purchase and then deliver to the INN. Back at the Merrick Jewish Centre, the teams had to correctly answer questions about the biblical story of Passover. At Levy-Lakeside, there was a basketball shootout.

Everyone eventually made their way back to MJC, where there was a pizza and ice cream party for the road warriors. The team that finished the challenge first also received 20 raffle tickets, and other teams received between one and 15 tickets, depending on the place in which they finished. The raffle drawing included tickets to a Yankees game, a tablet and a Bradford portrait valued at $5,000.

Michael Fried said what he liked best about the morning’s fun was how it brought together multiple generations of the MJC congregation.

“Older members of the synagogue are volunteers, and the participants are some of the youngest members,” Fried said. “It educates the children about Passover, it brings people together, it builds relationships. Just to see the smile on everybody’s faces was gratifying for me.”