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.