Passover story resonates across cultures



One by one, the more than 30 people seated in the Church of the Mediator repeated the words of liberators, citing Nat Turner, who lead the bloodiest slave revolt in American history, Emanuel Ringelblum, a Polish historian who documented Jews’ plight from inside the Warsaw ghetto, and Robert Moses, a Civil Rights activist who was jailed while organizing black voter registration drives in Mississippi.

Steve Bergen, executive director of the Tech International Charter School, partnered with Rev. Diego Delgado-Miller of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator, and his own rabbi, Mr. Siegel from the Shul of New York in Manhattan, to host a multicultural Jewish-Hispanic Passover Seder on April 2. 

Mr. Bergen and Father Delgado-Miller created an original Haggadah with passages in Spanish, English and Hebrew that weave together Hispanic, Jewish and black tales of slavery and liberation long-celebrated separately in Kingsbridge.

Passover is a Jewish celebration of the ancient Israelites’ liberation. Jews typically celebrate by reading the Haggadah, which recounts how the prophet Moses led the Jews out of slavery in Egypt, parted the Red Sea and brought the Jews to Israel.

The auditorium bustled with students, parishioners and neighbors like Dicky Nuñez, who decided to attend after meeting Mr. Bergen in coffee shop on West 231st Street, and Herb Barret, a Jewish veteran who befriended Father Delgado-Miller while serving as a poll worker at the church. Between Hebrew songs and several participatory readings, Father Delgado-Miller and Rabbi Siegel explained the Seder plates, which contained several symbolic foods. 

Rabbi Siegel had people dip parsley in salt water to remind them of the tears shed by slaves. Father Delgado-Miller broke the matzo, an unleavened bread eaten by Jews to remind them of the provisions they ate while hastily fleeing Egypt. The two spiritual leaders lifted a shank bone in the air and explained that it symbolized God’s blessings, particularly, that God spared Jews who marked their homes with lamb blood.

Page 1 / 2