Two celebrations took place over last week that are significant to both the Christian and Jewish faiths.

Our co-chairs—Rev. George Cummings, pastor of Imani Community Church, and Richard Speiglman, a member of Kehilla Community Synagogue— took some time to reflect on what Passover and Easter mean to them. They also shared how those traditions relate to the work of OCO.

Richard said the following about Passover:

The Exodus story is a celebration of community organizing.

Recounting the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt takes place each year at the Passover Seder and fulfills a Biblical commandment to share the story with our children. As history, this story is central to Jews’ appreciation of our people. But it is also part of a larger understanding about all forms of degradation and enslavement. Our Seder includes the following passage:

“Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom, commemorates a great and dramatic event in the history of the Jewish people—their escape from Egypt. Yet it has a broader meaning as well. For people in all generations, it has been a symbol of their own quest for liberty and a promise that the freedom they desire can be won. Pharaoh is not merely one ancient tyrant. He is all tyrants. From his defeat, people take confidence that they can break the chains that bind them. It is no accident then that freedom-loving people of all creeds and races have taken hope and courage from the Passover Festival.”

Maybe it’s because of decades of Seders that I am drawn to be active in OCO.

Rev. Cummings shared that on Good Friday 19 Imani members joined the group of 42 walkers that participated in the East Oakland Ceasefire night walk.

“What was especially critical for the Imani walkers on this day was the fact that Good Friday is a day that represents the sacrifice of self made by God on behalf of others,” Rev. Cummings said. “In talking about why they were walking on this day, some of the Imani members mentioned the idea of self-sacrifice for the sake of others as central to Christian discipleship.”

Rev. Cummings also spent Saturday speaking at the Seder celebration at Kehilla, where he spoke on the issue of economic inequality and its relationship with race.

Now that’s faith in action!