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Redbridge residents of all faiths celebrate Passover

PUBLISHED: 16:17 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:49 04 April 2018

Communal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob Kamall

Communal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob Kamall

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Passover is being marked this week by both Jewish and non-Jewish residents across the borough.

Communal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob KamallCommunal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob Kamall

Known as Pesach in Hebrew, Passover began on Friday, March 31 and runs until April 6 or 7, depending on where in the world it’s being observed.

The festival celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people, led by the prophet Moses, from Egyptian slavery.

Around 300 Muslim worshippers at South Woodford Mosque, in Mulberry Way, were treated to an address by Rabbi David Hulbert, of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue, before Friday prayers.

Rabbi Hulbert said: “I told them about how the Jewish community are celebrating Passover and how the story of Passover can also be found in the Quran.”

Communal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob KamallCommunal Seder meal held by the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue. Photo: Bob Kamall

Written in the Old Testament, the Passover story can be found in the Islamic and Christian, as well as Jewish, holy texts.

On Saturday, more than 120 members of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue congregation gathered for a communal Seder meal at Clore Tikva School in Barkingside.

Rabbi Richard Jacobi and Rabbi Hulbert led the Seder.

As is tradition, guests ate unleavened bread called Matzah, read passages of the Passover story from a book called the Haggadah and sang folk and religious songs.

Rabbi Hulbert said: “We celebrate our exodus from ancient Egypt and we also celebrate the ten plagues.”

As the legend goes, God punished the Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, and his people, with ten plagues when he refused to liberate the children of Israel.

The plagues ranged from turning the rivers of the Nile into blood, to killing all Egyptian first-borns.

“We pour one drop of wine on the white table cloth for each of the ten plagues,” he added.

“Our pleasure symbolised by the wine is reduced by the suffering of the poor Egyptians.

“It wasn’t their fault, it was the Pharaohs’!”

Rabbi Jacobi related this story to today’s events.

He said: “We reminded ourselves of the sexism still affecting women, and of those trafficked as slaves in the UK and elsewhere around the world.

“We enjoyed our evening and committed to help improve our world, which is the true message of Passover.”


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