A Seder that’s open to everyone

By JEFFREY BISHKU-AYKUL
Staff Writer

An interfaith Passover Seder will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at the Chicago Theological Seminary (CTS), 1407 E. 60th St.

The biennial tradition is being co-sponsored by Jewish renewal congregation Mishkan Chicago and Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle (HPMFC), a community-based religious group. The interfaith Seder will include songs of thanksgiving and a reading of a text drawing from several religious traditions, but like other rites of its kind will also mark the escape of Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt.

“It’s a significant commitment to those who are disempowered in society or have been marginalized in society to recognize the ways in which so many people are on journeys of freedom or are experiencing oppression,” said Rabbi Rachel Mikva, who organized the event and is the director of CTS’ Center for Jewish, Muslim and Islamic Studies.

Mikva said she first reached out to HPMFC and Mishkan Chicago about hosting an interfaith Seder two years ago. Both groups have a relationship with CTS: HPMFC holds an after-school program for Muslim youth there once a week and Mikva once led Mishkan Chicago’s leader, Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann, in her congregation at KAM Isaiah Israel, 1100 E. Hyde Park Blvd.

Heydemann said tomorrow’s event is about giving people a chance to attend a Seder and discuss faith with members of other religions and concepts such as God, slavery and justice — all topics addressed at Passover.

“In our country and in our city there is so much room for growth, there’s so much room for improvement in interfaith relationship building,” Heydemann said.

“I think first and foremost, because it is an interfaith Seder, our hope is that the community sees that Hyde Park is a place where these different religious and non-religious communities are coming together,” said Jenan Mohajir, a member of the Hyde Park Muslim Family Circle’s steering committee.

For more information, call CTS at 773-896-2400 or visit ctschicago.edu. To R.S.V.P., send an e-mail to jcis@ctschicago.edu.

j.bishku@hpherald.com