In April 1969, on the first anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jewish and African-American activists came together in Washington, D.C. to share a meal in solidarity, an event that came to be known as the Freedom Seder. Based on a text written by Arthur Waskow, this event would exert a long-lasting influence on American life, generating considerable controversy, while also sparking new forms of political activism and religious practice across the ideological spectrum. The content, context, and legacy of this event formed the focus of the 2015 Embodied Judaism Symposium, Freedom Seder: American Judaism and Social Justice.
The symposium featured leading scholars and practitioners from across North America, including Rabbi Arthur Waskow, one of the central figures behind the original Freedom Seder; Rabbi Rachel Barenblat, co-chair of the board of directors of ALEPH: The Alliance for Jewish Renewal and writer of the popular blog Velveteen Rabbi; Adam Bradley, Associate Professor of English and Founding Director of the Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture at CU Boulder; and Riv-Ellen Prell, Professor Emeritus of American Studies at the University of Minnesota and the 2015 Jim and Diane Shneer Fellow in Post-Holocaust American Judaism. Moshe Kornfeld, the 2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer for the Program in Jewish Studies Studies, opened the symposium with a welcoming song.
The walk-through exhibit accompanying the symposium explored the Freedom Seder and its legacy, along with the storied careers of Rabbi Waskow and Rabbi Leah Novick. The exhibit is currently located on the 2nd floor of Norlin Library on the CU Boulder campus and is available for viewing during regular library hours, which can be found on the University Libraries website.