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New Passover Haggadah, A Common Road To Freedom, Unites Black And Jewish Communities In Seders Across America

WASHINGTON, DC, March 28, 1996 -- The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) has published a new edition of its heralded Black-Jewish Passover haggadah, the ritual prayerbook used during the Jewish festival commemorating the Israelites' Exodus from Egypt, entitled A Common Road To Freedom. Designed with cooperative Black-Jewish community seders in mind, the revised haggadah is rich in new songs, ancient and contemporary writings, and reflections by Jewish and African-American leaders, Ethiopian Jews, and others including: Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Anne Frank, and Bob Dylan.

Scores of synagogues, communities, and college campuses have held Black-Jewish seders during the Passover season using previous versions of A Common Road To Freedom or similar haggadot. The new hagaddah will be used this Passover by congregations and community groups across the country, including: Jewish and African-American college students from several southern Californian schools at a program sponsored by the Jewish Chaplaincy/Hillel and the Office of Black Student Affairs at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California; by a congregation hosting an interracial community seder of 300 people on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and by Temple Bat Yam in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for an interfaith seder with a local Black church.

The story of the plight of the Israelites and their liberation from slavery in Egypt belongs to all of humankind. As A Common Road To Freedom puts it, that story "has been a powerful motif of hope for both Jews and Blacks -- in their most desperate times of persecution and despair as well as in their most determined times traveling the road to freedom: in Israel, Africa, Europe, and America."

A Common Road To Freedomwas made possible by the support of the Marjorie Kovler Institute for Black/Jewish Relations and the Barbra Streisand Program for Black/Jewish Cooperation.

Copies of the new haggadah are being disseminated as part of the RAC's Black-Jewish Seder Project, a program designed to foster stronger relationships between African-Americans and Jews. Individuals or organizations interested in ordering copies of A Common Road To Freedom should contact the Religious Action Center at (202) 387-2800.

Editors note:Copies of A Common Road To Freedom are available to the press. For an expedited mailing, call Joshua Rose at (202) 387-2800.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis .



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