As Holy Season for Christians and Jews Approaches, SLU Hosts Model Seder

March 05, 2010

As_Holy_Season This spring, people of all faith backgrounds at Saint Leo University’s main campus community once again have the opportunity to participate in a Model Seder Meal in observance of the Jewish feast of Passover.

Rabbi Gary Klein of Temple Ahavat Shalom of Palm Harbor will lead the meal and the event, to be held at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 10, in the Student Community Center Boardrooms. The event is co-sponsored by the Office of University Ministry, and the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, an interfaith center housed at Saint Leo University. The meal is complimentary.

A “model seder” differs in some ways from the more common family celebrations held in Jewish homes, typically without a rabbi, during the weeklong Passover holiday. This year Passover begins at sundown on Monday, March 29.

“This is a teaching seder,” explained Linda Taggart, director of CCJS. That means, for instance, that the discussion of the rituals attached to this holiday––which commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt––will not assume any prior knowledge of Judaism or Jewish customs. The context will make it particularly easy for Jews, Christians, and people of other faith traditions, or no faith tradition, to find meaning in the powerful story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. The setting also gives those in attendance the chance to speak with each other about their individual experiences of the ritual in the moment.

Magda Robles, assistant director of University Ministry, considers the event an “opportunity to embrace diversity and celebrate our differences in the spirit of community.” In some ways, the event also reflects the spirit and openness of Saint Leo University. Although Saint Leo is a Catholic university founded in the Benedictine tradition, it is welcome to all people of good  character interested in studying, working, or teaching at SLU.

For more information about the Model Seder Meal, or University Ministry, email Magda Robles at

For more information on the Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies and its programs, visit