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April 14th,2014 Categories: Latest News

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NYC Area Christians, Muslims and Jews unite to celebrate Interfaith Peace Seder on April 16

Religious Leaders and Congregants Convene to Celebrate Passover and to Learn About Each Other’s Religious Practices and Cultures

NEW YORK, NY (April 4, 2014) – Christians, Muslims and Jews will gather at an Interfaith Peace Seder to celebrate Passover at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, in the Parlor Room of the Park Avenue Christian Church, 1010 Park Ave. in Manhattan.

The Church, in addition to its Christian congregation, also houses Da’at Elohim: The Temple of Universal Judaism congregation. Rabbi Ari Fridkis, the Rabbi of Da’at Elohim, will lead the Seder and will be accompanied by the Pastor Alvin Jackson of the Park Avenue Christian Church and Imam Azam Ariaz, who is affiliated with Park51. Columbia Professor and renowned guitarist Richard Miller will lead a group performing music from all three Abrahamic religions traditions. Lead sponsors of the event also include the Foundation for Ethical Understanding and Park51.

A Seder is a ritual meal celebrating Passover, in which participants celebrate Israelites’ flight from Egyptian slavery, as told in the Old Testament Book of Exodus. The Seder is usually celebrated the first and sometimes the second night of Passover, however, this interfaith Seder will be celebrated on Passover’s third night. The purpose of the Seder is to promote greater understanding between the three religions of Abraham.

Kevin Costa, the Seder’s lead organizer sees it as a way to bridge the cultural divide between the religions and move the world toward peace. “I have friends from all three religions and there are so many misunderstandings,” Costa, a Christian said. “… a Seder is a great way to bring people together and for people to see each other as people instead of as the other with much more in common than not.”

Rabbi Marc Schneier, the President of the for Ethnic Understanding and co-author of “Sons of Abraham.” said “This Passover gathering is a logical extension of the work we do, twinning Rabbis and Imams and calling on people of all faiths and ethnicities to keep aglow the light of understanding.”

Atif Sial, Director of Development at Park51, said “This Interfaith Peace Seder can lay the framework for tolerance, love and ultimately a deeper understanding between members of diverse faiths.We can show that regardless of religious differences we can come together and respect people of all backgrounds, traditions, and beliefs.”

“As one of the most media-saturated cities in the world, we have a great opportunity- people all over the world watch what we do,” Costa said. “So many wars around the world are fought over religion. Understanding is a way to lessen conflict and will lead to peace.”

The organizers hope that this Seder will be the first of many interfaith events to take place in the future.

Ultimately, the organizers hope that 15 percent of all Muslims and Jews and Christians will know someone who has attended an Interfaith Seder. “It is the early adopter theory of social change- when 15 percent of a population changes their opinion about something, the conversation changes. If the
conversation changes in New York, it can change the conversation everywhere.”

WHAT: Interfaith Peace Seder
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday April 16
WHERE: In the Parlor Room of the Park Avenue Church, 1010 Park Ave. in
WHO: Congregants from the Park Avenue Church, Da’at Elohim and Park51

COST: Free and open to the public. Light dinner will be served and donations will be accepted at the door.

RSVP to Kim Gross (561) 451-5580 or kgross9@gmail.com by April 14

MEDIA CONTACT: Brad Groznik (917) 828-2977