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United Jewish Federation of Utah commemorates LGBT of all faiths

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Beginning April 19, 2019, Jewish people around the world will sit down to celebrate the start of Passover, a week-long holiday commemorating Pesach, the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, as recounted in the Bible in the book of Exodus.

Passover, marked in a variety of ways in the Jewish community, includes a Seder. A Seder means “order” in Hebrew, precisely because there is a strict order and regulation in relation to texts read; prayers recited; songs sung; food and drink consumed; symbolic questions asked; and the use of ritual objects on a ‘Seder plate’.

For most Jewish people, reference to a Seder leads to an assumption that the festival spoken of is Pesach; although there is a growing standardization, and acceptance of, the practice, within various denominations across the Jewish community, of the celebration of the festival of Tu B’Shvat (New Year or Birthday of the Trees) through holding a Seder which reflects on the natural world and ecological concerns.

Holding a Seder thus has profound psychological and ritual significance for Jews, and is associated with moral responsibility and recognition of themes of social justice.

And for more than three decades, the Pride Seder tells the story of the liberation of LGBT people, much as the Passover Seder tells the story of the liberation of the Jews. In holding a Pride Passover Seder, which incorporates secular (profane) ritual and symbols – for example rainbow-themed flags and foods; bright clothing with rainbow colors and symbolic items associated with Pride celebrations and also sacred items such as candles and a Seder plate, demonstrates ritual activities which represent a blending of identities and recognition of the importance of Jewish LGBT Pride.

The United Jewish Federation of Utah’s Pride Passover Seder, to be held April 22, 2019, welcomes LGBT individuals beyond the Jewish community, as well as allies of the LGBT community. It will be a unique opportunity to bring Jewish customs and rituals into the light for non-Jews and bring LGBT customs and rituals into the light for Utah’s LGBT allies.

UJF Pride Passover Seder takes place at the IJ & Jeanné Wagner Jewish Community Center located at 2 North Medical Dr., Salt Lake City, on April 22, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tickets $18, shalomutah.org.

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