Exodus! 40 Hours of Service for 40 Years in the Desert

Congregation organizes 40 hours worth of volunteer activities around Passover.

Community Contact Information:
Northwestern University Hillel


  • Draw connection between Passover and tikkun olam. 
  • Encourage volunteer service.

To encourage individuals to get involved in the local community, congregations and organizations can offer various service projects equaling a total of 40 hours to represent the 40 years that the Israelites spent wandering in the desert. The project can culminate with a community-wide Seder.

In order to successfully plan a large-scale, multi-layer service project such as this, the committee must be strategic in the projects chosen, advertisement strategies and culmination event.

Projects might include: 

  • Working at a soup kitchen. 
  • Preparing meals for a shelter. 
  • Holding an advocacy event. 
  • Collecting donations for a charity (e.g. Nothing But Nets). 
  • Hosting a blood drive.

Project Implementation:
Volunteer registration prior to each event is encouraged and therefore advertising is essential. Consider asking synagogue auxiliaries/committees (Sisterhood, Brotherhood, religious school classes, etc.) to host special projects and help recruit volunteers.

The community seder following the 40 hours of service will serve as an opportunity to bring all the volunteers together, share stories and pictures from their experience and relate their efforts to the story of Passover.

This program creates numerous opportunities for individuals to take action and relate those acts of tikkun olam to the story of the Exodus.