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Christian And Jewish Congregations Celebrate Easter And Passover Under One Roof

Patrick Farrell
Miami Herald
Temple Israel of Greater Miami

Under the banner of "One House, Two Families," two major congregations in Miami have decided to take a stand against divisiveness during this Passover and Easter weekend.  

On Sunday, Unity on the Bay, a non-denominational church, will hold its Easter Sunday Service at Temple Israel of Greater Miami, just hours after the celebration of the second night of Passover. 

"I think it is exciting and meaningful to have people worshiping God in a structure that was built just for that. The two holidays are always connected by the calendar, but in spirit they are connected in someways too,” says Scott Brockman, the Director of Temple Israel of Greater Miami. 

To emphasize the commonality, a sign that reads "One House, Two Families" has been placed at the entrance of the Temple to greet all believers.  

Reverend Chris Jackson, senior minister at Unity on the Bay, says he hopes this Easter Celebration can convey to the South Florida community  that people do not have to come from a common belief system, but with respect and love they can embrace each other as human beings. 

“I think above everything else it symbolizes that people of differences, even sometimes radical differences, can still come together as members of a human family and recognize that we are in this all together,” said Jackson. 

The two congregations have a history of collaboration and friendship, according to Brockman. 

About 5 years ago, the membership of Unity on the Bay decided to sell their property to fund a new home that could better support their growing ministry and community. With the deadline for the move looming, they reached out to Temple Israel for a temporary venue for services. 
Brockman said when Unity on the Bay contacted them about the partnership he did not hesitate to say yes. He said he wanted to honor the strong Jewish belief in hospitality. 

Brockman says this weekend is a symbolic representation of their partnership.

“Saturday night is the synagogue is holding a second Seder, it is the second night of Passover, and just hours later in the morning, Chris will be leading Sunrise services, just in the same space we are holding our Seder,” said Brockman. 

Looking forward, Jackson said the two congregations are looking into the possibility of holding interfaith services on Sundays. 

Correction: The initial version of this story referred to Satyr instead of Seder. We regret the error. 

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