The Sunflower on Our Seder Table

blurry image of a book with the words The Sunflower on Our Seder Table

Pesah, Matzah, and Marror
We know what those symbols are for:
Remember the sacrifice,
Hold sacred the flight,
Taste the bitterness without any delight.

Each year at our seder on the table we see
Items that don’t belong traditionally.
We do this to encourage our children to ask,
“What makes this night different?” and
“What is our task?”

We hope the sunflower will spark such a query
So we can explain to the young and the weary
That our sisters and brothers, both Jewish and other
Want to live freely in peace with each other.

So why the sunflower this year on our table?
To pray for those who might not be able
To celebrate Pesah this year as free Jews,
To live in Ukraine however they choose.

We hope in this symbol that our children will learn
That’s it’s peace we all want, it’s for freedom we yearn.
On this seder night we hope and we pray
That God will bring peace to Ukraine today.

So tonight as this sunflower graces our table
Let us pledge to raise funds, to send food if we’re able
So the freedom we celebrate and the story we hear
Will inspire us to help others make this a better year.


  • Rabbi Ilana Garber graduated from the Double Degree program of List College (Talmud) and Barnard College (Religion) in 2000, and received her MA from the Wm. Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education in 2003. She was ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary in 2005, and immediately became an active volunteer in our RA (co-chair of Women’s Committee, served on Nominations Committee, Convention Committee, Zera’im: Seeds of our Future) while serving as Rabbi and Rabbinic Director of Lifelong Learning & Community Engagement at Beth El Temple (West Hartford, CT) from 2005-2020. A visionary Jewish educator, she created SULAM (Seek, Understand, Learn, Act, Marvel) in a complete overhaul of Beth El Temple’s religious school. Passionate about the mikveh, she wrote the curriculum to train mikveh guides for Boston’s Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh. Currently, she serves on the boards of Greater Hartford’s Mikveh Bess Israel and the Hartford Region’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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