JCRC Interfaith Seder to focus on values
Photo: Courtesy JCRC
At the 2018 JCRC Interfaith Seder, Congregation Shearith Israel’s Rabbi Adam Roffman, right, shares a Torah moment with, from left, Catholic Diocese of Dallas Auxiliary Bishop Gregory Kelly, Catholic Diocese of Dallas Bishop Edward Burns, Dr. Albert Karam and Mary Emma Karam and Rabbi Kimberly Herzog Cohen of Temple Emanu-El.

By Deb Silverthorn

The Eighth Annual JCRC Interfaith Seder table will be hosted by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas’ Jewish Community Relations Council and presented by the Texas Jewish Post. The community is invited to attend, beginning with a 5:45 p.m. check-in, and the Seder dinner will start at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, at Congregation Shearith Israel.

“The JCRC works year-round to bring together a diverse community and to build alliances with our neighbors,” said JCRC Executive Director Anita Zusman Eddy. “I’m so very proud of this event that invites others into our ‘home,’ this year Congregation Shearith Israel, to enjoy the experience of a Passover Seder, one that connects us all.”

The JCRC Interfaith Seder, chaired by Jacquie Schwitzer and Margo McClinton Stoglin and led by Temple Shalom’s Senior Rabbi Andrew Paley and Concord Church’s Senior Pastor Reverend Bryan Carter, brings the greater community together after a two-year pause due to the pandemic. The event is open to the community with attendance expected to include faith leaders, elected officials and community members from diverse faith backgrounds.

“We are all facing so many challenges and being able to be together is a gift,” Schwitzer said about the event, which will feature a kosher meal and a musical performance. “This is an intimate ‘moment’ where, apropos of all going on in the world, we can reflect on what we all care about.”

For Paley, this year’s theme of “Sharing Universal Values,” of the Passover story of freedom and liberation, speaks to the stories of so many in our community.

2019 JCRC Interfaith Seder guests Toni Howard-Lowe and Eric Davidoff sharing the reading of the plagues

“The Passover story speaks to others whose own stories resonate the messages of their own history and appreciating one another makes our own community stronger,” he said. “Coming together on an evening like this allows us to continue to build the community we want, to highlight our shared stories, to learn from one another.”

Paley said that Carter “is an incredible colleague and kindred spirit of justice and opportunity in our community, and the Interfaith Seder will be a homecoming of sorts, of coming together for the first time in too long and of sharing our vision of the justice of our prophets.”

The Haggadah used at the JCRC Interfaith Seder, created by the JCRC, relates the story of our past with trials of the present, stories that people throughout our greater community can identify with.

Rather than the four sons, the Haggadah speaks to the four children: the activist child, who asks “How can I pursue justice?”; the skeptical child, who questions “How can I solve problems of such enormity?”; the indifferent child, who asks “Why is it my responsibility?”; and the uninformed child, who is to be prompted to see himself as an inheritor of the biblical legacy.

When identifying the plagues during the ceremony, the JCRC Interfaith Seder will exchange blood, boils and famine for more modern plagues including gender inequality, threatened human rights, a distressed global climate, persistent hunger and existing forms of racism and discrimination.

“Building connections, sharing empathy and promoting tolerance is the best strategy to fight antisemitism,” said Zusman Eddy, “and an interactive evening, of understanding more about one another, is a very special way to do just that.”

Registration is open at jewishdallas.org/seder and tickets are $22/person and $10 for clergy. The event will follow CDC recommendations as well as Dallas County guidelines regarding large-scale gatherings.

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