On April 1st, our Federation’s Community Engagement Strategic Initiative hosted our third annual Community Passover Seder at the historic Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights. A once vibrant Jewish neighborhood, it was the perfect setting for this yearly event that brings together local leaders who are helping transform Los Angeles and build a better community for us all.
We filled the shul with a diverse group of leaders, activists, elected officials and board members that included Consul General of the State of Israel David Siegel, and our Federation’s President and CEO, Jay Sanderson. Guiding us through the journey of our ancestors’ slavery in Egypt was Rabbi Noah Farkas from Valley Beth Shalom synagogue. We were also treated to a rendition of a song that Los Angeles City Controller Ron Galperin sang with his grandparents at Passover during his youth.
Federation lay leaders also actively participated in the seder. Our Chairman of the Board, Les Bider, led us in the blessing over the wine, while Valley Alliance Campaign Co-Chair Karmi Monsher recited the blessing over the bitter herbs. Board Member Cece Feiler eloquently spoke about her parents, Holocaust survivors who immigrated to Los Angeles and directly benefited from the Boyle Heights Jewish community. General Campaign Chair Julie Platt also explained the significance behind why some families now place an orange on their seder plates. Their wisdom and moving stories made the seder even more meaningful for us all.
In addition to hearing personal accounts of freedom from attendees that included U.S Congressman Ted Lieu and State Assembly member Sebastian Ridley-Thomas, the seder table was a forum for discussion on current events. Among the topics broached was the modern-day plague of homelessness in our city—and what we can all do to address this critical issue.
Consul General David Siegel concluded the evening speaking fittingly about “next year in Jerusalem.” This was a very progressive and interactive seder that was full of food, friendship and thought-provoking dialogue. Special thanks to Board Member Jesse Gabriel, who led the charge in executing this annual event—once again proving that no matter how diverse we are, we all share a love of freedom.
For more information about Community Engagement, visit www.JewishLA.org/ce, or contact Alana Schwartz at (323) 761-8341 or ASchwartz@JewishLA.org.