TOUR CHICAGO: Passover Style A JUF Young Families Experience

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Ma Nishtanah...Why is today different from all others?

It’s been over a year of Covid 19 and every day may feel the same. You see the same people, you do the same things, and see the same sites. But ma nishtanah, today is different from all others. Today JUF Young Families takes you on a tour of the same city through the eyes of the Passover story.

So, strap the car seat, grab the snacks and turn up the tunes (not the same ones, we have a playlist for you here) and get ready to see Chicago through the eyes of the Haggadah.

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Logistics for your Journey

  • Be sure to bring paper & crayons for some prompted activities.
  • Snacks are essential for any car trip. There is one refuel stop but it’s primarily sweets.
  • Traditionally we celebrate Passover with a Seder which means order. Today, the order is organized to reflect both the Haggadah and Chicago geography, but it is not essential to follow our “Seder.” Break it up over a few days, skip a stop here or there or complete it at once- it's up to you! Here is our route map for your reference.
  • Share your story and WIN! Check out our Passover Chicago Tour Photo Wall and share your pictures as you go. Each picture = an entry to win a special prize so be sure to include your name. Winners will be chosen on April 5. By posting a picture to the wall you are consenting to JUF's photo policy: I understand that my or my child's photograph or video may be taken and used by the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF) for its purposes without any compensation. All photos and videos are for JUF use and become the sole property of JUF.

Need a snack break? Check out these spots to grab a hot bowl of matzah ball soup! Many are on your way. Note they may not be kosher for Passover.

Stop #1: The River (Imagine it’s the Nile)

At the start of the Passover story, Pharaoh orders all baby boys born to Jewish families to be taken away. But Moses’ family floats Baby Moses in a basket on the river. Moses’ sister Miriam watches over him when Pharaoh’s daughter finds the baby and brings him to the palace to be raised.

Location: WMS Boathouse at Clark Park, 3400 N Rockwell St, Chicago, IL 60618 Parent Note: There is a small parking lot. Park and walk down to the boat house dock to get close to the river.

Activity: Gather up some leaves and branches. Try to weave them together and then set them out on the river to see if they float. Imagine a small baby floating down a river all alone.

Stop #2 - Egypt!

“In Every Generation we should see ourselves as if we personally went out of Egypt”, so let's visit Egypt - and then leave!

Location: Reebie Storage 2325 N Clark St #300, Chicago, IL 60614 Parent Note: Street Parking only

Activity: Selfies with the Pharaohs! Share them with us on Instagram and Facebook @PJLibraryChicago or post your picture on our phone board below to be entered to win.

Bonus: Read this article to learn more about the architecture here

Stop #3: Mt. Sinai & the Burning Bush (or Chicago Sinai)

Moses is herding sheep when he notices a strange bush. It’s on fire but not burning down. Amazing! He hears God’s voice telling him to go to Pharaoh and demand that the Jewish people – Moses’ people – be set free.

Location: Chicago Sinai, 15 W Delaware Pl, Chicago, IL 60610 Parents Note: Street parking only

Activity: Take a stroll around the city block. Look for signs of spring. Can you find buds or birds? On your walk, think about how Moses felt when God asked him to go back to Egypt to confront Pharaoh. Do you think Moses was scared? Is there a time you can think of that you had to be brave and stand up for someone else?

Stop #4-12: The Ten Plagues (or the ten Public Arts)

God took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm – with great power and with signs and wonders. Lets explore these sculptural wonders of the Loop and look for signs of the 10 plagues.

Parent Note: Plagues are in the most logical driving order NOT in story order. This route is easy to start at Sinai Congregation and ends at the Chicago Cultural Center where stop #13 is just around the corner.

Frogs: Drive by the (now closed) Rainforest Café - 605 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654 Unfortunately the giant frog has been removed from the roof of the Rainforest Café but there are a few smaller frogs to spot on the outside of the building (and some other wild animals)

Hail: The Sound Structure – 200 East Randolph Street, Chicago, IL 60601 Listen to the noise this sculpture makes. Does it sound like hail coming down and hitting the ground? Do the polls look like hail steaking down from the sky?

Wild Beasts (Part 1): Monument with Standing Beasts by Jean DuBuffet - 100 W. Randolph St. Why do you think this sculpture is called "Monument with Standing Beasts"?

Darkness: Take a drive on Lower Wacker. Don’t get lost and wander in the desert for 40 years – no GPS down here just like in Moses' day.

Death of the First born - Agora Sculpture, 1135 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605. These sculptures of legs are a little creepy (feel free to skip it if its too much).

More Wild Beasts: Lions at the Art Museum, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603. Growl like a lion on the steps of the Art Museum or out the car window if you are just driving by.

Locust or Blood: Calder sculpture on 50 W Adams St, Chicago, IL 60610. Does this Calder sculpture look like a giant bug landing in Chicago? Imagine if there were thousands of these coming out of the sky. Its also a bright red color which may remind you of the Nile River being turned to blood.

Boils - Miro, 77 W Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602. This Miro sculpture looks a little like a person with a big red boil. Can you see it?

Cattle Disease: Visit the bronze cow outside the Chicago Cultural Center 88 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602. Maybe pose for a selfie with the cow.

Stop #12: Miriam’s Song -Celebrating the women of our story (and Chicago)

Location: Rushmore Mural, 78 E Washington St. Parents Note: The mural is in the alley on the western side of the Chicago Cultural Center. It is very easy to pull up and take a look.

The Rushmore mural highlights women who were influential in Chicago’s arts and culture, click here to learn more.

Women played a crucial role in the Passover story including Yocheved, Mother of Moses; Miriam, sister of Moses; Shifra and Puah, the midwives; Tziporah, Moses’ wife; and Batya, Pharaoh’s daughter who took Moses in. Each of these women helped encourage Moses and the showed bravery and strength to help lead us to freedom.

Who are the important women in your life? Share are you drive to the next location.

Stop #13 - Crossing the Red Sea to Freedom

Here are three options for crossing the Red Sea

Drive across the Chicago River on Michigan Ave – As you drive over the Chicago river, imagine what it was like to cross the Red Sea. Imagine the wall of the bridge are actually walls of water and rather than being in your car, you are walking across of the floor of the sea.

Frank Gehry Bridge in Millennium ParkColumbus Dr. between Randolph and Madison Sts. Walk across the bridge and image in the silver metal walls are actually the sides of the sea rising up.

Richard Serra Sculpture - Grant Park at Monroe St. between Columbus and Lake Shore Drs. Stand in between the large mental walls of the sculpture and imagine what it felt like to be at the bottom of the sea.

Listen to this song of freedom while you cross (note the song starts at about 1:17)

Stop #14 - The Festive Meal & Seder Plate

LOCATION: Windy City Sweets 3308 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60657

Parent Note: There is street parking. Wear a mask when entering the store. For an added challenge, give your kids a time limit for the hunt, this limits your time in the store and is an extra COVID precaution. Please be mindful of other customers and maintain social distance.

Activity: There are many different candies to choose from here (including a great selection of Kosher for Passover treats). We challenge you to find a candy that represents each item on the seder plate:

Karpas – Green Veggie (often Parsley) represents a new spring

Charoset – the sweet fruit & nut mixture that represents the mortar that the Israelites used to construct buildings for Pharoah

Maror – The Bitter Herb represents the bitterness of slavery

Shank Bone or Beet – the roasted bone that represents the Passover sacrifice

Egg – the roundness of the egg represents the circle of life

Bonus Items:

Matzah – We place 3 pieces of matzah on the seder table

Salt water – representing the tears of the slaves

Orange – representing the role of women in the Passover story

Do you have a special item on your seder table? Find it in candy form

Stop #15 - Next Year in Jerusalem (& Together)

“If God had only taken us out of Egypt .. it would have been enough” Dayenu is a song of gratitude and thanks, we have so many gifts and even just one would have been enough for us to feel grateful and happy.

What are you grateful for this year?

Location: Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, IL 60660

Parent Note: Park at Emanuel and walk around to the back of the parking lot to look out on the lake.

Activity: Stand facing the lake and look east (the direction of Israel and out to the lake). Imagine you were on the beach in Israel soaking in the sun. Share what you are grateful for and sing Dayenu.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! We hope you enjoyed it. Please do not forget to share your pictures on our special Passover Chicago Tour Photo Wall - each picture is an entry to win. Prizes include gift cards to local restaurants and businesses.

We wish you a very happy Passover and cannot wait to celebrate with you again soon.

Love, JUF Young Families


Created with images by PJ Library, Pexels - "architecture buildings business" • NadineDoerle - "sphinx egypt hieroglyphs" • Falkenpost - "desert sand dunes"