Photos: Lara Bierner
The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) held its ninth annual Interfaith Seder on March 15, with 350 in attendance.
“It is awe-inspiring to be in a full room of people who are committed to working together toward making our city and our community a better place,” remarked Cyd Friedman, chair of the JCRC. “We hope that the Interfaith Seder challenges each of us toward self-reflection, building relationships with one another, heightened awareness of issues affecting our greater community and social action in Dallas and beyond,” she said.
Rabbi Elana Zelony of Congregation Beth Torah and Reverend Dr. Frederick D. Haynes III of Friendship-West Baptist Church led this year’s observance. The ninth annual Interfaith Seder Planning Committee was co-chaired by Arny and Valerie Felner of Congregation Beth Torah and LaHendra McCray and Alisha Trusty of Friendship-West Baptist Church. This year’s Seder theme, “Celebrating Our Diversity,”brought together faith leaders, elected officials and community members from diverse faith backgrounds. The choir of Friendship-West Baptist Church gave the opening performance.
Igor Alterman, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, delivered welcoming remarks. “In recent years, antisemitism continues to top the rank of all religiously motivated hate crimes in the U.S. At the Jewish Federation, we recognize the importance of building meaningful and lasting relationships between communities of all faiths and ethnicities in order to increase cultural understanding and counter antisemitism. The Interfaith Seder allows us to do so by bringing together members of diverse faith communities and backgrounds to have a shared spiritual and intellectual experience,” he said.
Following the model of a traditional Jewish Passover Seder, the annual JCRC Interfaith Seder draws comparisons between Passover stories and challenges faced in present times by exploring a social action theme or value that resonates across numerous faiths. The JCRC Interfaith Seder is an opportunity for the Dallas Jewish community to join together with local faith leaders and individuals from different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds. The JCRC Interfaith Seder also provides the Jewish community’s non-Jewish friends and neighbors a chance to have a Jewish experience in a Jewish institution.
Sponsors of the ninth annual JCRC Interfaith Seder were Friendship-West Baptist Church, The Catholic Diocese of Dallas, Cyd and Cliff Friedman, Dialogue Institute Dallas, Jolene Risch/Risch Results and May Sebel. The Texas Jewish Post was the media sponsor.