Thousands Reached Through Interfaith Seders in 2007
Posted: March 29, 2007
In the weeks leading up to Passover, thousands of people from diverse faiths and ethnic backgrounds came together in different parts of the country to celebrate the Jewish tradition of the Passover Seder in events sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.
The Passover holiday commemorates the deliverance from Egyptian bondage as the beginning of national history and the time of the barley season, remembrance of the relationship of Israel with the land.
In a longstanding tradition of furthering intergroup understanding, ADL brings together communities of differing faiths and ethnic backgrounds with Jews to learn about and celebrate the universal values and themes in the story of Passover: liberation from slavery, freedom from political oppression, the obligation to remember and teach about our heritage. This year, in cities across the country, Interfaith Seders have brought together Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, religious and community leaders, and others, to share in the experience of the Seder.
The following is a sampling of some of the many ADL Interfaith Seders held around the country this year:
Boston and New England
More than 500 people representing more than 25 different ethnic groups from the region gathered in Boston on March 22 for a community seder on the theme "A Nation of Immigrants." The participants in the model seder shared readings, songs and stories from the diverse backgrounds that make up our nation.
In Salem, MA, ADL's New England Regional Office sponsored the 15th annual North Shore Interfaith Seder on March 27 at Salem State College. Made possible by a myriad of local community organizations, the community gathering also featured the presentation of the Nancy D. Harrington Interfaith Award, esetablished to mark the relationship between ADL and Salem State College.
On March 14, ADL's Chicago Regional Office celebrated an African-American/Jewish seder, marking the 10th anniversary of bringing the two communities together to explore mutual bonds in the journey from slavery to freedom. The Seder was co-sponsored by ADL, the Chicago Urban League and Leaders United, in association with the Chicago Board of Rabbis and Temple Sholom. The seder commemorated the life of civil rights hero Clyde Kennard as an example of the continuing obligation to speak out against injustice and to oppose bigotry.
The League's New Jersey Office held its 8th Annual Interfaith Solidarity Seder on March 28 at The Trenton War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. Titled "Strangers in A Strange Land: Building a Family of Immigrants," the Seder highlighted the role that immigrants have played in America by linking the Exodus story to the plight of immigrants seeking refuge in the United States. The Seder featured four deeply moving and diverse personal accounts from participants who told of their struggle to make it to America and who spoke passionately about the need for comprehensive immigration reform. ADL welcomed Gov. Jon Corzine who gave formal remarks and then participated in the traditional readings and rituals associated with the evening. The Governor presented a formal proclamation to the ADL New Jersey Office saluting its work.
Students, faculty, staff and administrators from Loyola University joined with members of the New Orleans community for the 4th Annual Interfaith Passover Seder sponsored by ADL's New Orleans Regional Office, the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans, Loyola University Ministry, Holy Name of Jesus Church and New Orleans Hillel.
New York City
The League's New York Regional Office celebrated the 2nd annual Freedom Seder on March 27, bringing together Jewish and Christian eighth-graders from the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County and Immaculate Conception School of Jamaica Estates, Queens. The Freedom Seder recognizes the universal bonds of oppression and slavery that are shared by many races, religions and cultures.