South Australia: Interfaith Seder

 Interfaith Seder

The Beth Shalom Synagogue of Adelaide will hold an Interfaith Seder on Sunday, 26 March, 2023 from 6pm. At this participatory Passover celebration, the hosts will retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, through ceremony, with ritual foods.

The Interfaith Seder utilizes the historic and tradition-laden model of a Passover Seder to open a conversation between the hosts and participants from any faith traditions. Participants will have the opportunity to meet and become friends, breaking “bread” and eating a sacred meal together. They discuss the Passover themes of freedom, responsibility, and tradition that form the backbone of respectful relationships. And, through discussion questions and activities, they engage in conversations that enable them to learn about each others’ faith traditions.

Symbolism of the Seder

At the Seder, every person should feel as if he or she were a slave going out of Egypt.

Background: Traditionally, the Seder begins with the story of the Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and recounts the Jewish people’s descent into Egypt, recalling their suffering and persecution. We are with them as the ten plagues punish Pharaoh and his nation, and follow along as Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea. We witness the parting of the waters, allowing the Israelites to pass and escape. As we eat bitter foods of affliction and poverty, the Exodus becomes a reality.

The service is read out of a book called a Haggadah, and as the narrative proceeds we refer to several symbolic items on a large plate called a Seder plate. Traditionally, each item on the plate is used and explained as the meal progresses.

Matzah — Unleavened bread, representing the bread of affliction that was eaten by the slaves as they rushed out of Egypt.

Question: Do you know of any family member or friend where that person was afraid and had to leave quickly to escape in fear? Do you know women or children who had to leave an abusive home to save their lives? Do you know an immigrant or a refugee that left because of the fears of violence or oppression?

Maror (Bitter Herbs) — Representing the bitterness of life as a slave.

Question: Have you heard the stories of living in desperation, enslavement to oppression that left almost no more tears, only daily drudgery and pain? Do you know of immigrants who have been abused in their workplaces because they are immigrants?

Haroset — A mixture of fruit and nuts designed to look like mortar. Its sweetness represents the sweetness of freedom, and its appearance reminds us of the mortar the Israelites were forced to make for Pharaoh.

Egg — Represents the circle of life.

Shank Bone — Represents the lamb that Jews sacrificed as the special annual Passover offering when the Temple stood in Jerusalem.

Salt water — Represents the tears of the slaves

Question: Have you sat with someone who has been overwhelmed with grief and tears from finding no way out of a hurtful place in life? Have you or someone you know been mistreated because of your race, faith or immigration status?

Karpas (Greens) — Represent the initial flourishing of the Israelites during the first years in Egypt, and the coming spring (participants may each dip some greens into saltwater to eat).

Other Symbols:

Elijah’s Cup — On each table stands a cup for Elijah, the prophet in Jewish tradition who will usher in the messianic age, an era of global peace. As each participant adds some grape juice or wine to Elijah’s Cup, we are pledging to make some contribution to help bring about a messianic age, when all immigrants and refugees will be welcome in our midst (please ask each participant to add some wine or grape juice to the cup).

Event Details

Date: Sunday, 26 March, 2023 • 4 Nisan 5783
Time: 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Location: 39 Hackney Rd, Hackney South Australia 5007 (Opposite Botanic Gardens)
Cost: $50 per head (tables of up to 8 can be booked)
RSVP: February 28, 2023
Register online:


The Beth Shalom Synagogue of Adelaide will hold an Interfaith Seder