The Museum of Mississippi History, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, and the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life will host the Mississippi Freedom Seder on Tuesday, April 16, at 6 p.m. in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium at the Two Mississippi Museums. Open to all, this participatory program will feature the rituals, readings, songs, and ceremonial food of the Passover tradition. A dinner will follow.
“We are honored to host this year’s Mississippi Freedom Seder at the Two Mississippi Museums,” said Katie Blount, director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “What better way to commemorate the original 1969 Freedom Seder that brought diverse groups of people together than to invite all Mississippians to join us at the museums where we tell the many stories of our state.”
At the first Freedom Seder, held on April 4, 1969, more than 800 people gathered in a church in Washington, DC, to commemorate the first anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. Using the words of the traditional Passover Seder calling for justice, peace, and liberation, the 1969 Freedom Seder strengthened black and Jewish community relations and established a touchstone for contemporary Seders.
“We are pleased to co-host this commemoration of the Freedom Seder, and in doing so, we remember Rabbi Perry Nussbaum, spiritual leader of Beth Israel Congregation here in Jackson,” said Michele Schipper, chief executive officer of the
Institute of Southern Jewish Life. “His courage and commitment as an outspoken advocate of civil rights in the 1960s is an important part of our history.”
Passover, an annual eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the liberation of the Ancient Israelite people from slavery in Egypt, begins on April 19, 2019. The traditional Passover meal, called a Seder, combines rituals, readings, songs, and food. Seders are a communal celebration of freedom from bondage and oppression.