Nearly 200 people gathered at Jewish Silicon Valley’s Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center, Sunday evening, for an interfaith service.
The Interfaith Unity Passover Seder was sponsored by the Interfaith Clergy Association of Los Gatos.
The event—which commemorates the biblical story where the Angel of Death “passes over” houses marked with lamb’s blood, instead of killing the firstborn male inside—coincided with beginning of the Muslim Ramadan season and the Christian Easter period.
“This was a very lovely event and a wonderful feeling stepping out of my ‘religious and cultural silos,’” said Folake Phillips, founder and executive director at AWỌ, an organization founded in response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota at the hands of police. “Today was my first experience ever of a Jewish celebration—Jewish anything—so, thank you for helping me expand my worldview some more.”
Mayor Rob Rennie, Vice Mayor Maria Ristow and Councilmember Marico Sayoc attended.
Two Los Gatos High School students, Ariana Duckett and Maya Segev, gave an address.
Michael Simbirsky from Palo Alto-based charity Nova Ukraine “received a standing ovation for his incredible and brave remarks about the devastation of war, and his gratitude from the support received from around the world,” said Danielle Patterson, a JSV spokesperson.
The celebration welcomed attendees of the different faiths to experience the traditional Seder experience that originated with the Israelites of the Exodus era.
This included symbolic foods, traditional Passover songs, and—of course—dinner.
More than 30 local churches and organizations participated.
Through a Jewish foundational text, the Four Cups come to symbolize God’s expressions of redemption (1. “I will take you out…”; 2. “I will save you…”; 3. “I will redeem you…” and 4. “I will take you as a nation…”), according to chabad.org, one of the first Jewish websites.
Riffing on “current local challenges to inclusion and solidarity,” the Los Gatos event organizers dedicated these Four Cups “to the steps toward greater unity,” Patterson said.
“Awareness of xenophobia, knowledge of those who have been targeted as ‘other,’ and understanding how to provide mutual support, were the topics covered by diverse speakers,” she said. “The fourth cup was the ‘Action’– each participant was invited to pledge to take a simple act of kindness.”