In the 1980's, some suggested that an empty chair be left at the Seder table, in solidarity with those Jews behind the Iron Curtain who were not able to celebrate the Festival of Freedom. At that time, the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged that this chair be filled with a ‘fifth child’; a Jew who would otherwise not be celebrating Passover.
It was this inspiration that led to the founding of Passover Australia, a non-profit organisation run by the Rebbe’s Shluchim to the Rabbinical College of Australia and New Zealand, with the goal of reaching out to all Jews in Australia, especially in Regional and Rural Australia, providing them with a means to experience and celebrate Passover.
Pesach saw groups of students travelling to many parts of Australia and New Zealand, to arrange Seders for their Jewish communities. Cities visited included Brisbane, Coffs Harbour, Cairns, Darwin and Fremantle. Their visits enabled over five hundred people to attend Seders across Australia.
Aside from conducting communal Seders (Sedarim), the Shluchim utilize these annual visits to offer guidance and encouragement, and to provide religious items such as Mezuzot, Tefillin, Books and Kosher food, wherever needed.