WASHINGTON – Dozens of diplomats from all over the world joined Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon to celebrate Passover with a mock Seder at the organization’s headquarters in New York Monday.
The Seder, a Jewish ritual and dinner during the first one or two nights of Passover, is sometimes precursored with a mock Seder at school or organizational events, to celebrate the holiday earlier with others.
Danon, who started this tradition in 2016 after he was appointed as ambassador, explained to his counterparts about the Jewish traditions behind the holiday.
“As in our years of exile, there are still those who rise against us – but today we are a strong nation that can defend itself. The struggle for freedom is the breath of life, and it ensures the existence of the Jewish people,” said the ambassador.
The Turkish ambassador, Feridun Sinirlioglu, attended the Seder and joined other diplomats in reading from the Haggada, a text narrating the Seder.
Sinirlioglu’s presence may be surprising, given the latest tensions between Israel and Turkey. Ambassadors from Japan, Argentina, Romania, Ukraine, Slovakia, Denmark and Slovenia participated as well.
According to the Israeli Mission to the UN, Rabbi Elie Abadie provided commentary and instructions to the gathering on the various items and symbols of the Seder and the Passover holiday.
Leaders from different Jewish communities joined the event to help explain the traditions to the ambassadors, many of whom were attending their first Passover Seder.
The Forum for Cultural Diplomacy also aided in hosting the event. Tomas Sandell, founding director of the European Coalition for Israel, told the audience that “remembrance is central to Passover.
Recent surveys reveal that a growing number of people, especially young people, no longer know their history or that of European Jewry during the Shoah [Holocaust]. The antidote to Jew hatred is education.”
Gregory Lafitte, co-founder of the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, added that: “The story of Passover teaches us many lessons, including about the roots of antisemitism, and its best antidote: the immense contributions of the Jewish culture to humanity.”