Miami Herald Examines Interfaith Service Focusing on HIV/AIDS Awareness
The Miami Herald on Tuesday examined an interfaith Passover service called Seder of Hope in Plantation, Fla., that focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness. The service, which is scheduled for Sunday at Ramat Shalom Synagogue in Plantation, was established by the Jewish AIDS Network and the Jewish Healing Center five years ago. The service has grown from 50 participants during its first year to about 150, according to Elaine Conrad, a JAN board member.
Rev. Naomi King, minister at the River of Grass Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Plantation, said there are many links between Passover and efforts aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS, including the "idea of the need to be free from enslavement to this virus." Most of the people attending the service have been affected by HIV/AIDS in some way, Conrad said.
According to Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs, director of JHC, the interfaith component of the service is important because HIV/AIDS does not "discriminate." This year's service is expected to draw leaders from many Christian and Jewish communities. The service will feature HIV/AIDS informational pamphlets, a display of panels of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, music and a kosher meal.
"We have been touched by this disease in so many ways. And it is still with us," Jacobs said, adding that the service is a way to express pain associated with the disease, as well as faith in the possibility of a cure. The service is a "celebration of love, friendship and support that sustains us and holds us together, regardless of background or belief," Jacobs said (Feinstein-Bartl, Miami Herald, 3/25).