Jewish and Christian Passover Haggadot as Sites of Interfaith Engagement

Passover is often described as the quintessential domestic Jewish holiday, celebrated by more American Jews than other religious ritual. Since the mid-20th century, however, Seders have also been reinterpreted as auspicious sites for Jewish-Christian engagement. While early modern European Christian writing about Jews often depicted the Seder as a mysterious, secretive Jewish domestic ritual with sinister associations with murder and blood libel, contemporary American engagements with Passover have radically altered this depiction, reconceiving it as an opportunity for connection between Jews and Christians through the celebration of a ritual that an increasing number of Christians have come to regard as an important part of their own heritage.

In this talk, Jessica Cooperman examines some of the ways American Jews and Christians have reimagined their engagement with the Passover seder, both together and separately, and to consider the ways that the Passover seder has been redefined and reinterpreted as a Christian ritual. An exploration of these new approaches to the seder can perhaps offer us a window onto the multiple and shifting dynamics of Jewish-Christian relations in the post-World War II United States.

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