Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Pesach is my favorite holiday. This admission may surprise readers. After all, Pesach is not the easiest of Yomim Tovim. It requires lots of preparation, restrictions, and cleaning. Fortunately, my eishes chayil does the heavy lifting with most things related to Pesach. My main tasks are to locate my kittel and Haggadah and take the kids to clean the car. (Reader’s Note: When I am tasked with helping in other ways, I jump at the opportunity and do so with enthusiasm and a positive attitude!)

The seder itself, with all its symbolism and traditions, is what most excites me about Pesach. Each aspect of the seder reminds us of our past and imparts timeless lessons for the future. The seder teaches us about family and community, as we gather at a table with loved ones. It reminds us of our history of hardship, and that redemption comes from Hashem. Finally, it also emphasizes that our ultimate goal is the building of the Bais HaMikdash in Yerushalayim with all of Klal Yisrael together in our homeland.


In financial terms, the seder offers Jewish investors clear guidance on how to define our goals. That task of defining goals is not easy for everyone. Whenever onboarding a new client, my first question is “What are your goals?” Most new clients seem unsure how to answer and often respond with a generic: “I want to make money!” I explain to them that “making money” is not the goal. It’s the byproduct of having a process in place to achieve your actual goals. The real question is, what are you looking to use your money for?

The lessons from the seder help inform that answer and dictate how we can best live our lives: speak to your children, transmit our heritage through every generation. That is the goal and the ultimate purpose of our money. This offers a helpful framework for how to spend, give, and invest our money to carry on the same Torah values.


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Spending: Living a frum lifestyle is not cheap. However, as readers understand, it’s of utmost importance. This means that despite the costs, it’s imperative to prioritize our spending on items and activities that enable us to live an Orthodox lifestyle. This includes spending on yeshiva tuition, kosher food, and the elevated taxes from living in a frum community.

Giving: Not all Jewish life has a mandatory fee. That’s why much of our giving should be directed at institutions and organizations that support this infrastructure. This includes giving to local shuls, mikvahs, and helping those yidden who are down on their luck in our local community. Nobody should be “priced out” of living a Torah lifestyle and that’s where our tzedakah dollars come into play. Additionally, having a national homeland in Israel is what further strengthens our people. Especially this year, allocating a certain percentage of a household’s charitable dollars to help our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land is imperative.

Investing: The hot topic in investing over the past five years has been “impact investing.” This is the process of investing to grow your wealth, while also having a positive impact on society. Impact investing can be achieved in the frum community in several ways. This includes investing funds that will ultimately be used to enhance yiddishkeit in the community where you live. Perhaps it’s putting money to work in local business or real estate. It may be focusing your business interests on your immediate community or Jewish communities, in general. Alternatively, it may be to invest in areas that promote Jewish values such as companies in Israel, self-defense companies that help provide the technology to defend Israel, or U.S. companies that have major operations in Israel that employ thousands of Israelis. Finally, impact investing may also include divesting from organizations that don’t support Jewish values or are vocally antisemitic. As a frum Jew, there are a myriad of different ways to align your money with your goals. The key is having a game plan for implementing your investment dollars before you start to invest your funds.

Final Thoughts: Every year, for the past 25 years, I have used the same Haggadah. My father gifted it to me with the following inscription:

“I remember the Sedarim as a boy with my grandfather, Sam, your great-grandfather. He told stories of his sitting at the seder in Russia with his grandfather. That’s your great-great-great-grandfather. I hope one day you can sit at a Seder with your grandchildren, use this Haggadah, and tell them this story.”

The essence of this message is simple. It’s to continue living by the same traditions and values that have been passed down from generation to generation. These messages were reinforced at my childhood seder with my Bobby and Zeidy, both Holocaust survivors, who would reminisce about sitting at “home” (Home = Europe, which hadn’t been their home for over 50 years, but that’s beside the point) with family celebrating the same traditions. My grandfather would always pause for a moment and say how proud he was of everyone at the table. It was evident that the source of his pride was not related to academic or career accomplishments. Rather, it was nachas from having grandchildren who were continuing to live a Torah lifestyle after all the hardships he personally, and our people collectively, endured. As he said from time to time: “You’re proof that Hitler didn’t win!”

Especially this year, the horrific massacre on October 7 and the ongoing war serves as a wakeup call that “kol Yisrael arevim zeh la-zeh.” So much of the world turning their back on Israel after these attacks should reinforce the message that we must prioritize our resources to support one another. After all, it is evident from the events of the past six months that we only have each other.

May the seder this year serve as a reminder of our timeless values, traditions, purpose in life, and how to use our money to support these goals, and may we merit to usher in the Ultimate Redemption.

Wishing all Jewish Press readers a Chag kasher v’same’ach!


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Jonathan I. Shenkman, AIF® is the President and Chief Investment Officer of ParkBridge Wealth Management. In this role he acts in a fiduciary capacity to help his clients achieve their financial goals. He publishes regularly in financial periodicals such as Barron’s, CNBC, Forbes, Kiplinger, and The Wall Street Journal. He also hosts numerous webinars on various wealth management topics. Jonathan lives in West Hempstead with his family. You can follow Jonathan on Twitter/YouTube/Instagram @JonathanOnMoney.