Sunday, April 27, 2008


Last night the
Interfaith Initiative of Santa Barbara sponsored an interfaith Seder at the Congregation B'nai B'rith. It was a wonderful interfaith event with representatives from the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Baha'i, Buddhist, and Hindu faiths participating. Readings from each tradition were part of the celebration.

It was a wonderful reflection of what we can become as we respect each other's religions and look to the truth that each tradition brings to our common table. The calls for liberation for all people were clear and meaningful. I know that "Jerusalem" was seen as a symbol for a place of peace and "Egypt" was symbolic of oppressors. At the same time, I kept thinking of the Muslim participants and wondering how they reacted to the multiple statements about Egypt and the calls - "next year in Jerusalem." I wondered whether they saw the choice of symbols as being a bit too close to home.

At that point, I was saddened as I was reminded how others of any variety of faiths use similar events to draw lines, excluding one another, or even worse, as calls to violence. Far too many religious festivals build walls rather than bridges.

I have cut down the blogs I read to a relatively short list, but one of my favorites is Rabbi Rami. He has a thoughtful and challenging post on the Passover on his blog that asks some very difficult questions. Head over there, read it, and struggle with the questions he adds to the traditional Seder questions. And let me know what you think.


Chad said...

How would you define a "common table?"

roy said...

good question Chad.

First I would define it in the broadest terms possible... we all share this planet and if we don't learn to respect one another and get along with one another, the results are obvious.

We share communities in the same way.

Second I would define it in terms of the values and dreams that virtually all people have - we all want to see our children and grandchildren grow up in a better world than we know. We all want to have adequate food and shelter and medical care and feel secure about tomorrow. We all want to be respected and afforded the kinds of rights that the US Constitution claims are given not by any government but by God.

so... the short answer is all of those things that we as human beings share in common.