Jews and Methodists share a Seder table in July

Event focuses on improving inter-communal ties following last year’s conference which voted to boycott Israeli produce from settlements.

jews and methodists in UK_311 (photo credit: Richard Hamilton-Foyn/TCMP)
jews and methodists in UK_311
(photo credit: Richard Hamilton-Foyn/TCMP)
Jews and Methodists sat down to enjoy matzah, bitter herbs and four cups of wine at a model Seder Monday night, as part of the Methodist Conference currently being held in the seaside town of Southport in the UK.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Methodist Church in Britain and the Council of Christians and Jews co-organized the event, which focused on the common origins of the Jewish and Christian faiths, in order to improve inter-communal ties following last year’s conference. The conference voted to adopt a boycott of Israeli produce from settlements, a move condemned at the time by the Board of Deputies.
“After the painful resolutions last year, our communities are demonstrating a commitment to bridge-building that is bearing real fruits,” said Board Senior Vice President Jonathan Arkush. “This event was a key stage in the development of stronger relations, and a better understanding of the need for genuine dialogue before taking positions on the complexities of the Middle East.”
Monday night’s Seder was attended by a third of the conference delegates and was hosted by the Southport Hebrew Congregation.
Rabbi Saunders, of the town’s Jewish community, led the proceedings, with a Christian theological response given by Reverend James Booth, chairman of the nearby Liverpool District of the Methodist Church.
The Board of Deputies said the event was a “step in the right direction” and followed on form conversations conducted between local Jewish and Methodist communities around the country in which Jewish communities have sought to “deepen relationships and offer a more balanced perspective on the conflict in Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
“To be received with such generosity by the Jewish community in Southport was a delight,” the secretary for external relationships at the Methodist Church, Christine Elliott, said. “The meal we shared together was one where representatives of our two communities could take time to sit together, talk, laugh and begin to hear each other.”