HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — There was a unique interfaith gathering Thursday night in Harrisburg to build unity in the community.
Beth El Temple hosted the 10th annual Freedom Seder, billed as a way to discuss forms of hatred and oppression that persist today and committing to working against them together.
Passover commemorates the exodus of Jews in Egypt from slavery to freedom.
“Just as the Jewish people have many stories of being refugees from various lands out of which we were thrown out, so do many other people, unfortunately,” said Rabbi Ariana Capptauber with Beth El Temple.
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Others like the Baha’i faith have been persecuted too.
“Some they had to flee their countries and go other places so this is remembering all those that they have gone through very difficult times and found their way in another country and made home, said Behzad Zandieh, member of the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Harrisburg.
Many questions are posed on Passover, and answered, like the theme of “Why We Welcome Refugees.”
“My father was a journalist and my sister was the spokesperson of the ministry, she speaks for Army and also for the police of Afghanistan, and also she worked with America,” said Hadiya Amini.
Amini and her family fled Afghanistan just months ago, now welcomed with open arms in Harrisburg by this interfaith community.
“I am so happy that I meet different people in different religions but they are human. They use their humanity to help. They help us a lot,” Amini said.
The message is no matter your religion, everyone can relate to or have compassion for refugees.
“And it’s certainly become even more poignant nowadays with the Russian invasion of Ukraine as well. We’re also facing kind of a new refugee and immigrant crisis,” said Father James Lease with Saint Catherine Parish.
“In that shared experience we are stronger as we share it and celebrate freedom,” Capptauber said.
This was an early celebration of Passover. The Jewish holiday starts Friday, April 15 at sundown.