The 7th Annual AJC (American Jewish Committee) inter-faith Diplomatic Seder was held at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple.
The Seder is made up of 15 parts. They are:
- Kadesh - Reciting the Kiddush (blessing/Prayer of Sanctification)
- U'rechatz - Washing of the hands
- Karpas - Blessing of green vegetable
- Yachatz - Breaking and sharing the matzah (cracker-like unleavened bread)
- Maggid - Telling the story of Passover (Exodus)
- Rachtzah -Washing hands before meal
- Motzi - Prayer to start the meal
- Matzah - bless the matzah
- Maror - Blessing of bitter herbs
- Korech Hillel's sandwich - (Paste of apples, spices and nuts spread between matzah)
- Schulchan Orech - Eating the meal
- Tzafun - Eating the afikoman (remaining matzah and dessert)
- Barech - Saying grace
- Hillel - Psalms of praise
- 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
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.
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
- Dam - Blood
- Tzfardeyah - Frogs
- Kinim - Lice
- Arov - Wild Beasts
- Dever - Cattle Disease
- Sh'Chin -Boils
- Barad - Hail
- Arbeh - Locusts
- Choshecb - Darkness
- 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.
Some of the pieces, like The Hallelujah Land, were his original creations.
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).
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.
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.
- The First Cup - Prayer of Sanctification
- The Second Cup - The Cup of Redemption
- The Third Cup - Kos B'racha - The Cup of Blessing
- 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 (back), Scott Matasar, Asim Datta,
Allan Schoenberg and Enid Rosenberg
German Consul Diana M. Thimmig with her husband John
Rev. Sam Tidmore and Rev. Cory Jenkins
Gerard D'Souza and Seville Morse
Dr. Viktoras Stankus and Ingrida Bublys
Richard Creppage and Serena Scaiola
Event co-chair Eric Wald
Alin Rosca and fiance Yana Katsevich
Rabbi Joshua Caruso and Surinder Bhardwaj
Rev. Will McBane, Henry Brunet, Ronnie McBane,
Surinder Bhardwaj and Eric Wald
Ken Kovach, Asim Datta and Rich Creppage
Serena Scaiola, Aniju Kapur and Sanjiv Kapur
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