For just over three and a half hours on March 30, 2012, representatives of some fifty nations broke matzo together at the festive Diplomatic Seder of the New York Region of the American Jewish Committee. The annual event, called “one of the highlights of (AJC’s) diplomatic outreach efforts in New York”, is a warm and congenial opportunity for the global advocacy organization to introduce the traditions of Passover to the international community.
The model Seder, led by the Senior Rabbi of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon, was held in the historic sanctuary of his synagogue. Congregational Cantor Ari Priven sang the traditional songs of the holiday. The New York event is one of several hosted by the AJC during the Passover season – including one in Washington, D.C., in Boston April 1st at the JFK Library and Museum, and AJC Berlin – during the weeks preceding the Passover holiday. For twenty years, the AJC Diplomatic Seder has been an opportunity for New York’s Jewish community to introduce the Passover holiday traditions to members of New York’s diplomatic corps and share the universal Jewish story of freedom and redemption from slavery.
David Harris, Executive Director of AJC, joined ambassadors and consuls general at the yearly event, initiated twenty years ago in New York. Said Harris, the Passover event “has proven to be vital in nurturing understanding of Jews and Judaism, while advancing closer ties between American Jews and representatives of countries around the world.” AJC National President Robert Elman and Mrs. Elman who led the lay leadership, and regional leaders from New York, Westchester, Long Island, and New Jersey, hosted the diplomats, and helped introduce the rituals, tastes and traditions of the Passover holiday to the cadre of international guests. Marjorie Kuhn served as Diplomatic Seder Chair person.
Ewa Jubczyk-Zionecke, Consul General of Poland, called the event “important,” noting that “sitting, eating and talking” can “unite people of different religions, backgrounds and countries.