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Article | March 30, 2022

Join Us For The 26th Annual JCRC Freedom Seder

Blog|Jeremy Russell

Join us on Monday, April 4 at 6 pm, in person or by Zoom, as we celebrate the Bay Area’s pluralistic society and the unique ways we experience freedom here. 

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The idea for a Freedom Seder was conceived eight days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in 1968. A year later, on the anniversary of King’s death, 800 people gathered in the basement of a Black church in Washington, DC, for the first Freedom Seder. Passover, with its radical message of freedom, has resonated with African-Americans since the days of slavery, and this commemoration was resonant as well. Soon, Freedom Seders were being held all across the country, including in the Bay Area.

By 1996, the Bay Area Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) had expanded the concept to broader themes and launched what was then called the JCRC Multicultural Passover Freedom Seder. For what will be our 26th annual event, the name has been shorted to simply the JCRC Freedom Seder. It is a participatory, cross-cultural, interfaith exchange, that honors one of the most important Jewish holidays of the year and celebrates our community as an upholder of freedom.

This year, we are proud to partner with our co-sponsor Grace Cathedral to come together, in this critical moment of plague, conflict and injustice, to grow hope and inspire our communities to build bridges and take meaningful action to help solve the many issues facing our Bay Area. Now more than ever, the story of Passover is resonant with modern experiences of systemic injustices and the dangerous fractures facing our society. Together we will confront rising antisemitism, racism, xenophobia and hate.

Our themes this year are Identity, Allyship, Welcoming and Reparations. JCRC believes for the Jewish community to thrive, we must work together with our neighbors to build a more pluralistic, equitable and educated democratic society. By building bridges and working in a coalition with diverse ethnic, faith, political and civic communities, JCRC is strengthening the pillars of a healthy society that Jews and our neighbors need to flourish, together. Each of these four themes highlights a different aspect of our commitments to civic engagement, emphasizing contemporary issues from racial justice to immigration reform while celebrating our longstanding Passover traditions with a Bay Area flare.

Special Guest Readers for the event include:

  • Senator Scott Wiener, California State Senate
  • Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, California State Assembly
  • Mayor Julia Mates, City of Belmont
  • Joaquín Torres, Assessor-Recorder, City and County of San Francisco
  • José Cisneros, Treasurer, City and County of San Francisco
  • Fatih Ates, Director, Pacifica Institute
  • Rabbi Ryan Bauer, Senior Associate Rabbi, Congregation Emanu-El
  • Rabbi Mark Bloom, Temple Beth Abraham
  • Mary Jung, Former Chair, SF Democratic Party and AAPI Community Leader
  • Eric McDonnell, Chair, African American Reparations Advisory Committee, City and County of San Francisco
  • Martin Rawlings-Fein, Member, Raoul Wallenberg Jewish Democratic Club
  • The Rev. Anna Rossi, Precentor and Director of Interfaith Engagement, Grace Cathedral
  • Igor Tregub, Vice, Chair, Alameda County Democratic Central Committee
  • Cally Wong, Director, API Council
  • Matan Zamir, Deputy Consul General, Consulate General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest
  • Rabbi Abby Phelps, Congregation Sherith Israel

We hope to see you there!

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