Monday, Apr. 18, 2011

Freedom Seders

As Jews celebrate their liberation from slavery in Egypt, African Americans note a stark comparison with their own embattled past. The Freedom Seder emerged in the mid–20th century as a joint celebration for both ethnic groups, and others generally caught up in union or leftist political struggles, to come together to celebrate the mythic promise of emancipation. At the height of the civil rights movement, blacks and Jews gathered at the seder to share food and stories from their respective histories in an event popular at universities and youth centers across the U.S. Representing empowerment and equality, the Freedom Seder has become especially poignant among other ethnic groups: Native Americans, Muslims and, particularly for this year, those supporting democracy in the Middle East.