The celebration - performed at the Bnai Brith building that is also the legal address of the Chilean Council of Christians and Jews - took place on April 14 with the participation of almost 200 Christians and Jews.
Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, sent her special greetings, excusing herself for not being able to participate and enhancing the meaning and message of freedom that Passover proclaims for all of humankind.
Among the participants were Monsignor Ivo Scapolo, Ambassador of the Vatican to Chile; Ambassadors from Colombia and Panamá; the consuls of Israel, Germany, Poland, Greece, USA and Russia, as well as Chilean Congressmen, the Director of the Chilean Office for Religious Affairs, Bishops, priests, pastors and reverends form different denominations as well as students and headmasters of the major Catholic and Christian Seminaries, joined by rabbis and lay leaders representing major local universities. The national Marine Corps and the national police force were also represented by their chiefs.
The celebration was led by Mr. Mario Sadovnik, Executive Director of the Chilean Bnai Brith, and Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler, president of the Chilean Council of Christians and Jews, member of the Executive Board of the ICCJ.
The way the ceremony - including a complete Passover dinner – has developed, includes enabling the active participation of as many as possible of the public; for that reason, each participant got a copy of the special printed Haggadah.
The main message chosen this time was the need to work together against any form of slavery and to work towards recovering human dignitiy and the value of human life, with special mention of issues such as antisemitism, Islamophobia, the persecution of Christians in some countries in the Middle East. We also remembered the Shoah and honored the commitment to claim freedom for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram a year ago.
(Author: Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler; President of the Chilean Council of Christians and Jews and member of the ICCJ Executive Board)
From left to right: Pater José Manuel Arenas, Emma Finkelstein, Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler.
Rabbi Shmuel Szteinhendler - in the middle - leading the celebration.