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BYU's Passover meals draw attention

Published: Friday, April 15 2011 4:35 p.m. MDT

Sometimes the local synagogues invite people to the Seder meal. DailyBreeze.com tells about how Rabbi Isaac Jeret of Congregation Ner Tamid in Rancho Palos Verdes invited 75 Catholic high school students for an "authentic Passover seder." "The common link is that Jesus was a Jew," Rabbi Jeret told DailyBreeze.com. "That is the transitional moment, the link in the chain between the two religions."

Bob Rothman, who organized the event, however, told DailyBreeze.com that it was important that it wasn't an adapted version sometimes used at interfaith gatherings. "A seder is a Jewish service," he said. "It's important that the students see it that way."

NewsTimes.com tells how on April 10 in Newtown, Conn., the Jewish congregation Adath Israel joined for an interfaith Passover seder with clergy from the Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist and Congregational churches.

The Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, Va., is holding their "Annual Messianic Passover Seder" on April 18. It will be led by the Pastor.

Grace Presbyterian Church (Gainesville, Fla.), presented "The Seder: How Jesus Celebrated Passover" on April 10.

Calvary Southern Baptist Church in Casa Grande, Ariz. also had an event on April 10.

Hilltown Baptist Church in Chalfont, Pa. is having a "Christ in the Passover" seder on April 17.

Even an atheist with the screen name "applehead," asked on Yahoo Answers how to celebrate a Passover seder because he would "love to start celebrating all religious holidays from all different cultures, just leaving out the "religion" and faith aspect of them. Sorry if that sounds disrespectful, but I'd like to experience different holidays just for the fun and cultural knowledge they offer."

But not everybody is a fan of participating in a seder. "The Fifth Column," a self-described "Orthodox Catholic" blog, doesn't think it is a good idea for Catholics to participate. "The desire to engage in the seder repeatedly, year after year, in order to somehow 'more fully celebrate Easter' is so stupid as to border on dangerous."

An article in Biblical Archaeology Review asked the question, "The recent popularity of interfaith Seders (where Christians and Jews celebrate aspects of Passover and the Last Supper together) points to an emotional impulse that is also at work here. The Christian celebration of the Eucharist (Communion)—the Last Supper—is the fundamental ritual for many Christians. And among Jews the Passover Seder is one of the most widely practiced of all observances. In these times of ecumenicism and general good feeling between Christians and Jews, many people seem to find it reassuring to think that Communion (the Eucharist) and the Passover Seder are historically related."

The article concluded that the Last Supper wasn't a Seder. "A number of scholars now believe that the ritual context for the Last Supper was not a Seder but a standard Jewish meal. … If this was a Passover meal, where is the Passover lamb? Where are the bitter herbs? Where are the four cups of wine?"

SlashFood.com recounts President Obama's first Seder meal during the 2008 campaign. It took place in "a windowless basement of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Sheraton." A campaign staffer, Eric Lesser, got an "emergency Seder kit" from the University of Pennsylvania's Hillel Center. As Lesser and a few other workers began, Obama asked if he could join. Apparently, they ended the Seder not with "Next year in Jerusalem," but "Next year in the White House."

Obama will hold his third annual White House Seder on April 18.

Related Links:

You can watch a home movie from 1935 of an orthodox Passover Seder shot in New York's Lower East Side.

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com TWITTER: twitter.com/degroote

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