Creating Partnerships at Seder

April 20, 2008

Author: Ari B. Bloomekatz

Source: The Los Angeles Times,1,6929899.story

The maror looked strange to immigrant rights activist Angelica Salas, and she wasn't sure how bitter the bitter herbs would be.

"But I actually really enjoyed it," Salas said, recalling how she dipped parsley into saltwater and made her first Hillel sandwich at her first Passover Seder.

Stuffing charoset, a paste of sweet fruits and nuts, and a layer of bitter herbs between two small pieces of matzo bread, Salas laughed as the flatbread crunched and crumbled between her teeth.

"The singing, the poems and the prayers by others were really welcoming, and even if you weren't Jewish, you really felt welcome. And even if this isn't your faith and your tradition, there was a message," said Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

She was among more than 80 people at the "Nation of Immigrants" Passover Seder held this month by the local Anti-Defamation League at Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

It was one of scores of outreach Seders held this year by Jews celebrating Passover, which officially began at sundown Saturday.

"As Jews, we are always looking for partners in the community that will stand up against anti-Semitism. How do we achieve partnership if we aren't willing to stand up for others ourselves?" said Amanda Suskind, regional director of the ADL. "It actually helps to foster this coalition of people. If all the minorities stand up together, what a great majority we will be."