By Mara Koven-Gelman
Last Thursday, May 7, hundreds of people gathered to see and hear diverse faith messages in A Virtual Passover of Hope: Passover Sheini, which was sponsored by the Buffalo Jewish Community Relations Council. Faith and community leaders helped participants both acknowledge this difficult time during the pandemic, and reminded us in the power of belief, faith and community. It was a heartfelt, meaningful and inspirational evening. Passover Sheini is a “second” Passover that many Jews celebrate one month after the festival.
The group consisted of leaders from multiple faiths who participated in the 2017 trip to Israel as well as other community leaders. They included Lana Benatovich, Rev. Stan Bratton, Sister Margaret Carney, Cantor Irwin Gelman, Michael Hill, Father Greg Jakubowicz, Imam Khalil, Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein, Overseer James A. Lewis III, Cantor Penny Myers, Rev. Craig Pridgen, Lady Monique Pridgen, and Rev. and Dr. Al and Rev. Deb Warner. JCRC Co-chairs Nina Lukin and Deborah Goldman introduced and hosted the event. Federation president, Leslie Shuman Kramer, summarized and thanked the faith leaders for their inspiration.
During part of the program, Rabbi Alex shared this poem he wrote:
An American Seder
Elijah arrives late,
he had problems with his watch,
or so he said,
and he drinks the forth cup quickly,
the wine staining his lips a brilliant purple.
His hair a burning bush,
flimsy and bedraggled,
but his eyes are as clear and deep
as an Ein Gedi spring.
I am laughing.
We are all wondering what he is doing there
Had he even been invited?
He is speaking with his arms,
nearly knocking over my sister’s Seder plate,
“You have to leave, the end is near,”
clearly the wine has already gone to his head.
My mother eyes my father
she wants to make sure he will protect his brood.
I do not feel threatened
but I also do not want to leave.
Perhaps Jerusalem will rise up next year
like a stone Golem,
overseeing the ruin of our enemies,
for now I am content eating the last crumbs of the afikoman
full and satisfied with what I already have.
Click the button below to watch the full inspiring event!
Mara Koven-Gelman is the Director of the Buffalo Jewish Community Relations Council, a program powered by the Buffalo Jewish Federation.