Annual Interfaith Seder Draws Over 100 People from 25 Faith Communities

WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (March 21, 2017) – Over one hundred people from 25 different faith communities participated in the Cathrine Fischer Schwartz Annual Interfaith Seder on Sunday, March 19, at Congregation Beth Israel in West Hartford.

Each year this unique program, which is free and open to all, brings together the Jewish community and those of other faiths to explore and enjoy the tastes and traditions of Passover, a major Jewish festival that commemorates themes of freedom and liberation. “Passover is a wonderful time to hold an interfaith event,” observed Jo Schubert, the Jewish Federation program officer who coordinated the Seder. “Freedom from slavery is a story that resonates across faith traditions and cultures; it provides a perfect platform to spark conversations and build new relationships.”

The Seder was led by Rabbi Debra Cantor of B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom synagogue in Bloomfield and Rabbi Rebekah Goldman Mag of Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation - Emek Shalom synagogue in Simsbury.  An additional eight rabbis were among those who helped to facilitate the festive meal, including Rabbi Yitzchok Adler of Beth David Synagogue; Rabbi Jeremy Bruce of Hebrew High School of New England; Rabbi Steven Chatinover of Solomon Schechter Day School; Rabbi Andi Fliegel of Congregation Beth Israel; Rabbi Randall Konigsburg of Beth Sholom B'nai Israel; Rabbi Alan Lefkowitz of Congregation Beth Ahm; Rabbi James Rosen of Beth El Temple; and Rabbi David Small of The Emanuel Synagogue.

A number of leaders from other faiths also attended. “I was so very happy to participate in today's Seder,” remarked the Most Reverend Dianne Sullivan of the Ecumenical Church of Hartford. “It was all-inclusive in that everyone was invited to participate, individually and collectively; the rabbis were clear and motivating with beautiful voices; and sitting at my table was an experience in crossing bridges and coming to know the hearts of new friends.”

The Interfaith Seder was presented by the Social Justice Committee of the Jewish Community Relations Council, part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, with program partner Congregation Beth Israel. Generous support for the Seder was provided by the Cathrine Fischer Schwartz Federation Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation.

To learn more about the Jewish Community Relations Council, please contact Laura Zimmerman at 860.727.6167 or


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