World

A New Tradition: SoCal Jews Share Passover’s Message of Unity

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The shadow of the October 7th attack lingers, but this Passover, Southern California’s Jewish families aren’t just finding comfort in ancient traditions – they’re reaching out. Interfaith events like the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles’ seder at the Museum of Tolerance are all about sharing, about proving that faith and community can rise above hardship.

“We’re living through testing times, the worst since World War II,” admits Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation. “Throughout history, we’ve been battered and bruised… yet at Passover, we always gather. We remember the trials of our ancestors, yes, but we also carry a torch of hope that things can change.”

JACK GUEZ / AFP

That spirit of action burned brightly as seder attendees joined forces with Our Big Kitchen Los Angeles, creating meals for some of L.A.’s most vulnerable. For young volunteers like Jacob Morozov, it cuts to the heart of things: “I see people on Skid Row, and my life feels so easy by comparison. Helping them… just doing a little bit…it feels right.”

Yossi Segelman, director of OBKLA, sees the bigger picture. “Anxiety, sadness, division – the world’s a messy place right now. But here? We give people a way to connect, to do something positive. That’s how you turn helplessness into hope.”

AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo

The Jewish Federation encourages this spirit of openness – inviting non-Jews to share seders, to learn. It’s about dialogue, and about the slow, vital process of healing, especially with the Middle East conflict a raw wound for so many.

“Being proud of our faith, celebrating with purpose – it’s even more important now,” says OBKLA volunteer Sasha Morozov. “Doing something good, this close to Passover, it makes it all feel extra special.”

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