The sacred Jewish tradition of Seder is becoming highly popular among non-Jews.
The Passover Seder is a sacred Jewish tradition. It is a ritual feast that marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. It involves the retelling of the story of how God rescued the people of Israel from Egypt's slavery. The customs involved in the Passover Seder are telling and discussing the story, drinking four cups of wine, eating matzah (an unleavened flatbread), consuming foods that are symbolic to Jewish beliefs placed on the Passover Seder Plate, and relaxing in the celebration of freedom. Jews around the world perform Seder in the same way. Unlike most of the Jewish holidays that are celebrated in the synagogue, Seder is conducted at home. Inviting guests, especially the needy and strangers, is customary. Seder is very long, old-fashioned, and involves consuming tasteless foods and bitter herbs. Hence, its recent popularity among non-Jews is kind of surprising. Christians celebrating the Passover Seder is kind of understandable, however, nowadays, the Seder is being celebrated by the Muslims, interfaith groups, gay groups, woman's groups, and a lot of other groups as well.
Last Sunday night, the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) hosted a Passover Seder at one of the largest mosques in the country. It was attended by people from different faiths. There was a moment when the service was interrupted by a Muslim call to prayer. All the participants rose from their seats in a show of respect to their Muslim brethren. In a country, at a time when there is so much religious intolerance and hatred going on mainly fueled by the Presidential election campaigns, a display of religious solidarity like this is not only amazing but also gives hope to a better tomorrow.Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, a scholar in residence at Washington Hebrew Congregation, who has published her own version of Haggadah, a book that explains how to celebrate Seder, said that over the years a lot of people (non-Jews) has been coming to her asking whether they could participate in her Passover Seder. She said that she could actually see the appeal of Seder to the people belonging to other faiths. First of all, it celebrates the story of liberation from slavery. All religions have a story parallel to that. Second is that it is generally celebrated at home, which means limited barriers for non-Jews.
— Carla Gonen (@CarlaGonen) April 22, 2016
Now, there are people who do not approve non-Jews celebrating the Passover Seder as well. For them, it is disrespecting one of the sacred Jewish traditions. According to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, taking a tradition that does not belong to them and celebrating it could well be seen as offensive by the religion from which that tradition has been taken.
- World Religion News
- Washington Post -“Adding Jesus to a Seder dinner? Not kosher”
- Washington Post – “Christian seders, chocolate seders, marijuana seders: Why non-Jews like Passover so much”
- Amazon – The Open Door: A Passover Haggadah