Despite the cool blue lighting of BAM Cafe, I could see James Lecesne’s smile from across the room. With a list of over 100 different charities and non-profit organizations up on the screen, texted in from all the guests a little while before, 16 year old Sophia Carter had to choose one to receive her prize for finding the combination hidden afikomen and Easter egg – $1000 raised by just passing around a basket.
With some of New York’s most prominent faith an non-profit leaders looking on (no pressure), she decided on the Trevor Project, a national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, who’s founder James had spoken earlier in the night about the importance of telling your story in being able to successfully help others. It was a touching crystallization of the night – a holiday of telling the story of our past, infused with the stories of our collective present, inspiring the next generation to influence the story of our shared future.
“How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers and sisters live in harmony!” (Psalm 133)
How wonderful indeed. Over 200 people packed BAM Cafe to celebrate Passover and Easter, honor the anniversary of MLK Jr.’s assassination, and raise our voices in the fight for freedom and justice today. This was not the first time I’ve shared a Passover table with members of other faiths. But everyone who was at Freedom’s Feast last night, myself included, will tell you – there has never been a Seder like this before. A night of true sharing, enriched and elevated by the traditions of others, leaving the room feeling a lot less like “others.” The most unique Seder I’ve ever been to.
-Ezra Bookman, Program Associate Lab/Shul
Read and watch NY1’s coverage of the night HERE.
Check out more PHOTOS on our Facebook.
And a list of all our presenters with links to their incredible organizations:
Auburn Theological Seminary
Dr. Lisa Anderson
Rev. Dr. John Vaughn
Bend the Arc
The Black Institute
Brooklyn Borough President’s Office
Pastor Gilford Monrose
Rev. Vince Anderson
Forest City Ratner
The House of the Lord, Pentecostal Church
The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry
Barbara Costigan, Board Member
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Cantor Lisa B. Segal
Franny Silverman, Director of Youth Education
Autumn Leonard, co-chair of Kolot’s Race Task Force and Multiracial Families Network
Kendell Pinkney, community member and Educator
Noah Chase Solomon
Marble Collegiate Church
Rev. Kirsty DePree
Muslim Community Network
New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care
Rev. Robert Chodo Campbell
Dr. Koshin Paley Ellison
The Office of Faith-Based Community Development Services
Rev. Karim Camara
The Trevor Project
Union Theological Seminary
Rev. Kimberleigh Jordan
Candace Yonina Simpson