Honoring Passover and Evolving Tradition
Shubha Bala, associate producer

2nd Annual African American/Jewish Passover SederEli Lipmen, a listener from Los Angeles, recently wrote to tell us about a local Passover event:

“On April 1st, leaders from the Jewish and African American community will come together to remember and reenact the Exodus story through the ritual of the Passover Seder. This will be the 3rd African American-Jewish Seder held in Los Angeles and hearkens back to the ‘Freedom Seder’ organized in 1969 in Washington DC. What relevance does the narrative of liberation and freedom have today?”

Meanwhile, with Passover approaching, it was suggested that I listen to one of our shows from 2004: “A Program for Passover and Easter.” One of the three guests in the show, Sandy Sasso, is senior rabbi at Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis. Here, she explains the relevance of the stories of Passover in today’s world and, more importantly, how changing and adapting traditions is actually an important way to honor them.

Coincidentally, she also shares the meaning of her experience conducting a Passover Seder with an African-American Episcopal priest bringing together black and Jewish women to discuss oppression and liberation within the context of the Exodus story.

If you enjoy this interview, you can also listen to our show on the spirituality of parenting, which also features Rabbi Sasso.

Image caption: participants read the Haggadah during the African American/Jewish Passover Seder at Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles (photo courtesy of the American Jewish Committee)

Share Your Reflection



When I was 10, my father, who had an extraordinary sense of humor, brought our Collie, Misty, to a Seder and left her in the car. Even at 10 I thought this was odd, but no biggie. When the Rabbi opened the door to let Elijah in, in walked Misty. My father had excused himself only moments before to use the bathroom. That act of humor permanently connected me to the Seder, and it is the most important ritual of my jew-in-disbelief year of celebration.