12 countries represented at March 23 event
Chim vidriznayayetza tzya nich vid inshih nochey — Why is this night different from all other nights? At the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Diplomatic Seder, these familiar words, spoken in Ukrainian, were followed by the Four Questions posed by attendees in their home languages of Arabic, Telugu, Japanese and Farsi. The evening was held March 23 at the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum (DHHRM). Former Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro served as honorary co-chairs.
“The Museum was honored to host AJC’s Diplomatic Seder this year,” said Mary Pat Higgins, DHHRM president and CEO. “We are proud to partner with AJC and support its important work to build bridges in our community.”
In his opening remarks, Rawlings commended AJC for their steadfast advocacy fighting hatred and bigotry as well as advancing democratic values. Shapiro spoke about the resonance of holding the Seder at the museum, noting, “As we relate the Passover story tonight, no doubt our thoughts will turn to the many refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine. Our hearts break for those besieged by war who yearn to live in freedom.”
A dozen different countries were represented at the Diplomatic Seder. These included Afghanistan, Egypt, India, Mexico, Malta and Peru. AJC Regional Board Member Mike Sims led the Seder. He was joined on the host committee by Stuart Blaugrund, Helen Risch, Melissa Rubel, Janice Sweet Weinberg, Maddy Unterberg, Harriet Whiting and Tina Wasserman. The event organizers sought to illustrate universal human values exemplified by the Passover story — welcoming the stranger, the right to self-determination, the scourge of slavery that still exists in our world today.
Winston Lam, co-president of the Pan-Asian leadership organization Ascend North Texas, remarked, “I found tremendous joy in interacting with people of faith who believe in freedom, welcoming strangers and standing against injustice. All too often in this increasingly digitized society, these important themes get overlooked. Through active conversation with others, we learn new stories and are able to grow in empathy and appreciation for others.”
“The Diplomatic Seder embodies AJC advocacy and bridge building at its finest,” suggested Harriet Whiting, AJC Dallas president. “Sharing treasured Jewish traditions with diplomats and interlocutors provides the perfect framework to illustrate the universal values that are embodied by the Passover Seder.”