PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It was a twist on the traditional Passover Seder at the National Museum of American Jewish History Monday night.
It’s called the Freedom Seder, and when Rabbi Arthur Waskow founded it in 1969…
“It was unique and unprecedented,” he tells KYW Newsradio.
That’s because it doesn’t focus solely on the Israelite’s exodus from Egypt.
“It was not only about the ancient history of the Israelite resistance to slavery under Pharaoh,” explains Waskow, “it was also about the resistance of black America to racism in the United States.”
In fact, the very first Freedom Seder happened exactly one year after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
“And nobody had ever woven together anything but the ancient story and maybe modern Jewish stories,” Waskow says, “but not modern stories of any other communities struggling for freedom.”
Waskow spoke Monday night along with other Philadelphia civic leaders like Valerie Gay with the Art Sanctuary.
“[The Freedom Seder] is the opportunity for communities to come together, particularly cross culturally, cross religion, that is an opportunity for us to think about peace and freedom.”
“This is a great opportunity for people to realize it is faith that brings us together and to be able to have that fellowship with one another,” adds Play On, Philly! founder Stanford Thompson.
While the hundreds of guests listened to the speakers, they enjoyed matzo and other foods that are part of the traditional Passover meal.