DALLAS — The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas will host its fifth annual Interfaith Seder at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at Temple Emanu-El.
The Seder is a unique opportunity for the Dallas Jewish community to join local faith leaders and individuals from different cultural and religious backgrounds. The program follows the traditional order and structure of a Passover Seder.
Each year the event has a theme that shapes the Haggadah which is written for the event. The theme of this year’s Seder is “Uniting our Community,” and the program will highlight the importance of building bridges between individuals and communities, and reaching out to support, understand, and respect the diverse communities in the Dallas Metroplex. The Haggadah is designed to maximize discussion on the theme, while allowing for a wide range of spiritual beliefs.
This year’s Seder is being co-led by Rabbi Debra Robbins of Temple Emanu-El and Reverend Dr. Jan DeVries, General Presbyter, Grace Presbytery. Grace Presbytery is comprised of approximately 150 congregations with more than 41,000 members. It will be Reverend DeVries’ second time leading the Interfaith Seder. Last year, 125 Presbyterians attended the event, some of whom had never previously been in a Jewish institution. “It is my great honor and pleasure to be co-hosting the Interfaith Seder again this year,” said Reverend DeVries. “We had such wonderful turnout last year and I’m looking forward to another inspiring occasion where people of all different faiths can sit together around a shared table and consider the values and duties that we have in common,” she added.
Rabbi Robbins remarked, “I am delighted to collaborate with Reverend DeVries on this special Seder. I hope this event will help us all remember that despite whatever differences we may have, there is more that unites us than divides us and we all have a similar devotion to effecting positive change in the neighborhoods where we live. I would encourage everyone available to join us to participate in this meaningful experience.”
The program will also feature a guest speaker, Dr. Fredrick D. Haynes, III, senior pastor of Friendship-West Baptist Church. Dr. Haynes’ passionate and engaging leadership has helped the church grow from 100 members to more than 12,000. He is committed to transforming the lives of others, as well as the community around him.
Traditionally, the Seder recounts the Passover story, which is rich in themes. It is impossible to study the Exodus narrative without being reminded of the issues of hunger, poverty and oppression. Each year, the JCRC Interfaith Seder explores these issues. Chair of the Interfaith Seder planning committee, Marlene Cohen, said, “We chose this year’s theme because the JCRC is dedicated to engaging with people of other faiths on issues that affect all of us and our community. We hope that the Seder will inspire attendees to work together to solve some of the issues that we all care about. The community’s response to poverty and hunger, for example, can be more robust when we are united in a common purpose to tackle what can be overcome, and provide necessary relief to families in our community that are in need.”
For more information or to register, please call 214-615-5293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a popular event, so those planning to attend should register in advance at www.jewishdallas.org/Seder. Cost to attend is $20 per person. A kosher dinner will be served. Child care is available for children 18 months to 5 years-old with advance registration.
— Submitted by Jamie Moore