March 22, 2012

Freedom, Faith, and Fellowship: A Passover Pilgrimage

Posted by Haggadot

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Why is this pilgrimage different from all other pilgrimages?

A pilgrimage for the Passover holiday is nothing new. For generations, the Jewish people have ventured to the Temple in Jerusalem, from far flung places, to offer and partake of the Pesach offering with other sojourners. However, the Department of Rabbinic Services at the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) has taken this traditional journey and placed it into a new Southern context.

Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom, celebrates the liberation of the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt. The traditional meal, where the story of Passover is shared along with rituals, readings, songs, and food, is called a seder. Seders celebrate not only freedom from bondage, but also freedom from oppression of all stripes, and have thus become a wonderful opportunity for fellowship within the Jewish community and beyond, as a popular interfaith experience: a shared communal celebration of freedom and friendship.

On this second annual ISJL Passover Pilgrimage, the ISJL’s Director of Rabbinic Services, Rabbi Marshal Klaven, will visit eight communities in four states, over the course of fifteen days. His stops will include Jackson, Mississippi (St. Philips Episcopal Church, March 29); Hattiesburg, Mississippi (Our Home Universalist Unitarian Church, April 1); Vicksburg, MS (Anshe Chesed, April 6); Natchez, MS (Congregation B’nai Israel, April 7); Tutwiler, MS (CCA-Tallahatchie County Correctional Facility, April 8); Auburn, AL (Beth Shalom Congregation, April 10); Crossville, TN (Upper Cumberland Jewish Community, April 11); Rome, GA (Rodeph Shalom, April 12); Fayetteville, GA (Congregation B’nai Israel, April 13); and Dahlonega, GA (Shalom B’Harim, April 14).

As these congregations demonstrate one of the enduring values of the Festival of Freedom by opening their doors to the neighbor and visitor alike, the ISJL’s itinerant program will remind them that no matter how small they may be or how remote from the larger Jewish world they may feel, they are not alone.

The Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life (ISJL) provides educational and rabbinic services to Southern Jewish communities, preserves the rich history of the Southern Jewish Experience, and offers community engagement opportunities and inclusive cultural programming throughout the organization’s thirteen-state region.

To learn more about the Passover Pilgrimage, the ISJL and its programs, visit, call 601-362-6357, or find the organization at