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American Jewish Committee Interfaith Seder

American Jewish Committee Interfaith Seder
Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple
March 16, 2010

The 7th Annual AJC (American Jewish Committee) inter-faith Diplomatic Seder was held at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple.

Fairmount Temple in Cleveland Heights Ohio

The Seder is made up of 15 parts. They are:

  1. Kadesh - Reciting the Kiddush (blessing/Prayer of Sanctification)
  2. U'rechatz - Washing of the hands
  3. Karpas - Blessing of green vegetable
  4. Yachatz - Breaking and sharing the matzah (cracker-like unleavened bread)
  5. Maggid - Telling the story of Passover (Exodus)
  6. Rachtzah -Washing hands before meal
  7. Motzi - Prayer to start the meal
  8. Matzah - bless the matzah
  9. Maror - Blessing of bitter herbs
  10. Korech Hillel's sandwich - (Paste of apples, spices and nuts spread between matzah)
  11. Schulchan Orech - Eating the meal
  12. Tzafun - Eating the afikoman (remaining matzah and dessert)
  13. Barech - Saying grace
  14. Hillel - Psalms of praise
  15. Nirtzah - Conclusion of Seder

Rabbi Joshua Caruso led the ceremony with enthusiasm and passion. He told how the feast of Passover was both a celebration of freedom and a memory of slavery.

Rabbi Joshua Caruso

Rabbi Joshua Caruso

In the end, the rabbi tells us that Passover is a happy, fun time and the rituals, though practiced with respect, should reflect that fun.

Seder foods

Seder foods

He went so far as to pass out green plastic frogs to represent one of the plagues the Israelites endured.

The Jews believe that God plagued Egypt with ten disasters as a punishment for their treatment of the Jews. The ten plagues bestowed upon Egypt were

  1. Dam - Blood
  2. Tzfardeyah - Frogs
  3. Kinim - Lice
  4. Arov - Wild Beasts
  5. Dever - Cattle Disease
  6. Sh'Chin -Boils
  7. Barad - Hail
  8. Arbeh - Locusts
  9. Choshecb - Darkness
  10. Makat B'horot - Slaying of the First Born

The feast of Passover celebrates their people being "passed over" from the 10th plague (slaying of the first born) as well as their ancestors "passing over" the Red Sea to freedom.

Noah Budin added music to the festivities by leading the participants in songs, some of which he wrote.

Noah Budin

Noah Budin

Some of the pieces, like The Hallelujah Land, were his original creations.

Dancing at the Seder

A series of "wonderful things that God has done for us" is read with a response of gratitude , Dayenu which literally means "it would have been enough." For example, the recitation is "Had God brought us out of Egypt and not divided the sea for us" and the response is Dayenu i.e., it would have been enough.

There are three basic symbols of Passover: Pesach, Matzah and Maror (Paschal Lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs).

Seder foods

Another tradition of the Seder is Miriam's Cup. Miriam was Moses' sister. The cup is decorated in festive style with bright colors. The cup is empty but then passed around the table. Each person adds a bit of water from their own cup and by the end it is full or overflowing.

Miriam's Cup at Seder

It signifies the Israelites wandering through the desert and they were refreshed by springs that came through the crevices of the hardened earth, as if by a miracle. When Miriam died, the water no longer came through and the springs died with her. When the springs started to flow again, they were named Miriam's Well in honor of the woman who brought life, music and dance to their trek across the desert.

After the meal, but before the service continues, there is a search for a hidden matzah (afikomen) by the children. When it is found, the child brings it to the leader who buys it back from them with a prize.

Four cups of wine are consumed during the Seder.

  1. The First Cup - Prayer of Sanctification
  2. The Second Cup - The Cup of Redemption
  3. The Third Cup - Kos B'racha - The Cup of Blessing
  4. The Fourth Cup - Nirtzah - The Conclusion

There is also a cup placed in honor of Elijah - the only prophet to never to be reported as dying. A cup is placed for him to show he is welcome at the Seder.

The audience participated through readings from the Haggadah, translated into English from the traditional Hebrew.

Participants included representatives from various religious faiths and ethnic backgrounds as our diversity was embraced and celebrated in this welcoming event.

Joe Thomas, Jose Feliciano, Scott Matasar, Asim Datta, Allan Schoenberg and Enid Rosenberg

Joe Thomas, Jose Feliciano (back), Scott Matasar, Asim Datta,
Allan Schoenberg and Enid Rosenberg


German Consul Diana M. Thimmig and husband John

German Consul Diana M. Thimmig with her husband John


Rev. Sam Tidmore and Rev. Cory Jenkins

Rev. Sam Tidmore and Rev. Cory Jenkins


Gerard D'Souza and Seville Morse

Gerard D'Souza and Seville Morse


Dr. Viktoras Stankus and Ingrida Bublys

Dr. Viktoras Stankus and Ingrida Bublys


Richard Creppage and Serena Scaiola

Richard Creppage and Serena Scaiola


Event co-chair Eric Wald

Event co-chair Eric Wald


Alin Rosca and fiance Yana Katsevich

Alin Rosca and fiance Yana Katsevich


Rabbi Joshua Caruso and Surinder Bhardwaj

Rabbi Joshua Caruso and Surinder Bhardwaj


Rev. Will McBane,  Henry Brunet,  Ronnie McBane,  Surinder Bhardwaj,  Eric Wald

Rev. Will McBane, Henry Brunet, Ronnie McBane,
Surinder Bhardwaj and Eric Wald


Ken Kovach,  Asim Datta and Rich Creppage

Ken Kovach, Asim Datta and Rich Creppage


Serena Scaiola, Aniju Kapur and Sanjiv Kapur

Serena Scaiola, Aniju Kapur and Sanjiv Kapur


Seder dance


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