Jewish Groups Celebrate Passover with African and Arab Americans

Article excerpt

While most Jews throughout the world sat down to a traditional Passover Seder in April, the Jewish Committee for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JCIPP) and the Washington, DC Chapter of New Jewish Agenda celebrated the 3,000-year-old Jewish holiday with local African Americans, Palestinians and other Arabs. Jews gather together at Passover to read the Haggadah, which recounts the story of how Moses led his people out of bondage in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land.

Seder organizers explained that, "the Jewish groups wanted to reach out to two local communities -- Palestinians and African Americans -- still struggling for freedom and full equality. Palestinians continue to fight for self-determination and an independent state in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and African Americans, for economic and political rights in a nation that brought them to its shores in chains."

Omar Kamhieh, a Palestinian American born in Lebanon, worked with JCIPP member Franca Brilliant in adapting the traditional Haggadah by including poems and texts about Palestinian and Black history. …