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Inter-faith leaders, elected officials experience night in Jewish home during passover

Ethan Corsen
Posted at 9:59 PM, Apr 15, 2024

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — More than 350 people were invited by the Jewish Community Relations Bureau ( JCRB AJC) as it hosted its largest Seder to date in Johnson County at Kehilath Israel Synagogue on Monday.

“We pray for the peacemakers; may they bring shalom to all," a speaker at the event said. "Confronting all forms of hate is everyone's responsibility."

Barry Kaseff, president of the JCRB AJC board, spoke on the importance of the event.

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"Seder in Hebrew means order," Kaseff said. "We are commanded to tell our children the story of Exodus."

Kaseff said the night is for the interfaith community, elected officials, and other leaders to find out what an evening is like in Jewish homes during Passover.

"The traditional sit down and break bread together," Kaseff said. "Now in the Passover, we don’t eat bread; we eat matza, but you’ll learn about that tonight. Everyone gets to chime in a little bit; that’s the fun of the seder, having fun learning and telling the story and rejoicing."

Their table is a place to learn.

“We want to be there as a Jewish community for other communities just as we would want them to be there for us," Kaseff said. “The only way to do that is if we are together, getting to know each other and hopefully more understanding there."

In recent months, Jewish leaders have said their community has felt the effects of a resurgence of antisemitism and that many have faced a vulnerability they thought they’d never experience.

"I think people are concerned and conflicted; there is new news every day, and folks are feeling a real sense of meaning with this Passover," Kansas Sen. Ethan Corson said. "Now, at a time where we are seeing rising antisemitism, it means a lot to have the community come together and show support for the Jewish community."

Over recent months, KSHB 41 has reported how many Kansas Citians have spent hours trying to contact family and friends in Israel, reading headline after headline, and sending desperate texts for information from loved ones.

“There is so much hate in the world right now, and I feel like hate comes from the lack of knowledge," Kaseff said. "If you know somebody, and the more you know about them, it’s much harder to hate someone when you know them. I hope tonight the big community comes together to learn about our community, sit with someone you don’t know, learn about them, learn about you, and walk away with some new friends tonight."

This event was a part of KSHB 41's ongoing coverage of SevenDays of Kindness events.