During the intermediate days of Passover, the Interfaith Encounter Association held an Interfaith Passover Celebration on Zoom, which consisted of a demonstration of a Jewish traditional Passover Seder with interfaith guests and insights.

After brief introductions, our host, Ms. Hanna Yaffe, led us through the order of the Passover Seder, and explained the meaning behind its different elements. She started with the blessing over the wine or grape juice (which was toasted with a vivid l’chaim-to life!), and mentioned that the Passover Seder is generally celebrated with one’s extended family, something that would not be possible this year due to the coronavirus lockdown. Because of the current crisis, many Jews were able to identify deeper with the meaning of the Matzah, the flat bread of affliction, and the Maror, the bitter herb . She also briefly explained about other elements of the Seder Plate- the zeroa (meat bone), salted water, charoset (apple or dates paste) and a boiled egg.

Two interfaith guests – Father Russell McDougall and Ms. Fatima Amer gave inspiring insights on the connections between Passover motifs and their own traditions.

Father Russell spoke about the Christian significance of elements of the Seder- such as (flat) bread, wine and egg.. Despite a common idea that Jesus’s last meal was held on the Passover Seder, that is not a consensus among scholars. In any case, what is most important is that he makes use of the elements associated with the allegories of Passover: the affliction and subsequent redemption. In addition, the egg is generally associated the renewal of life and resurrection in Christianity.

Fatima talked about the parallels between the upcoming month of Ramadan and Passover. Just like Passover, in Ramadan Muslims thank God for His grace and salvation. It is also celebrated with gatherings (the breaking of the fast) around food, and with many guests and extended families. It is also customary to do an additional prayer during this month- just like the week of Passover for Jews. In sum, Fatima mentioned that all of these holidays- Ramadan, Passover and Easter- are expressions of our desire to connect to God and become better persons.

At the end, Hanna finalized the celebration by singing some traditional Passover songs.  It was a very meaningful exchange and uplifting experience of connection in a time of social distancing.

The whole evening was recorded and you can watch it on https://youtu.be/93eV7calJwo