MOSCOW - Tens of thousands of Jews across the Former Soviet Union who never saw a seder in their lives will experience one for the first time.

With the joint sponsorship of Mr. Levi Levayov of Israel and the Rohr families of Miami and New York, 142 rabbinical students from Europe, Israel and the United States are leaving their families and traveling to the Former Soviet Union (FSU) to arrange public seders there. The students will conduct seders in many cities that haven't had one in many years. In addition, some of the student rabbis will help the permanent Lubavitch emissaries with their local seders - which in some instances number more than a dozen locations per city.

A special hardcover edition of the Passover Haggadah with Russian translation will be distributed as well.

Seder locations vary from Zhitomir, Ukraine, to Irkutzk in Siberia. More than 500 tons of matzah will be distributed to small communities throughout the FSU.

In addition, more than 1,500,000 pounds of Matzah are being distributed across the Former Soviet Union.

"Our goal is to bring Pesach to every single community whether it has a handful of Jews or is thousands strong," says Rabbi Berel Lazar, chief Lubavitch emissary in Moscow. "Without money to buy basic necessities and in places where no Jewish infrastructure exists, the freedom to practice Judaism openly remains theoretical.

"We aim to help make the Passover freedom a reality by helping people transcend their present limitations, just like in ancient Egypt," Lazar says.

Transcending limitations includes the logistics involved in getting matzah, wine and other Passover food from the emissary in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to a visiting rabbinical student in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where approximately one thousand Jews live today. And includes securing Passover provisions for Jews in Novosibirsk, Siberia; Bobruysk, Belarus; Birobidzhan, Russia and Tallin, Estonia.

Despite FSU changes in recent years, Lubavitch emissaries are still faced with the logistical nightmare of importing tons of matzah from Israel, tens of thousands of wine bottles from the United States (which have to be packed in special containers to avoid damage), and other provisions from Europe. The cost of producing any of these items locally would still be prohibitive.

FSU Passover events include seminars throughout to teach people everything from the meaning of Passover to how to conduct their own seders. The rabbinical students will also meet with local Jewish leaders to coordinate their efforts and get the word out to the community about the seders and classes.

In the Marina Roscha synagogue in Moscow thousands of people have already signed up to join the many Lubavitch seders around town. And so many have been responding to ads for the synagogue's Matzah that a special bus is now shuttling people from the subway station to the synagogue. But Moscow is not alone. In Donetsk, Ukraine, for example, 1,600 have already signed up for the seder on the first night.

The Jewish "Festival of Freedom" promises to be a counterpoint to some of the recent threats suffered by Jews in parts of the Former Soviet Union, uniting tens of thousands of Jews in hope and celebration.