Yes, it was one night early for Passover, but last night Barbara and I attended the 2008 All-Dorchester Seder, which is held every year at the First Parish Church. A seder at a church? Well, yes. In the first place, it’s a Unitarian Universalist church, so no one should be surprised that they would be hosting a seder. And in the second place, this endeavor is deliberately an interfaith community-building activity, so it’s best not to hold it in a Jewish facility even if one still existed in Dorchester. (For those who don’t know, most members of Dorchester’s once-vibrant Jewish community have long since fled to the suburbs, although there are still a few left here, and there’s a fair number of us who have moved into Dot in the past 25 years.)
Like many other worthwhile all-volunteer activities, the All-Dorchester Seder needs more publicity. I give the volunteers full credit for their hard work and accomplishments, but there really should have been more than 38 of us at this event. Religiously it was a good mix — about half of the people sitting near me being Jewish — but racially it was hardly representative of today’s Dorchester, since almost everyone there was white.
“Next year in Jerusalem!” Well, not exactly. As the Seder leader observed, this wish is to be interpreted symbolically, not literally. Very few of us intend to be in Jerusalem next year. But maybe next year there can be more attendees, with more racial diversity. I’ll remind everyone again in eleven months.