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Greater Cleveland faith leaders gather to learn at community Seder

It's the first time in three years that the American Jewish Committee has been able to hold the event in person.

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — An entire community came together to celebrate freedom Thursday night.

The American Jewish Committee hosted it's first in-person community Seder in three years at the Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, this as the nation continues to see a rise in antisemitism.

"We do not get to do this very often," Rev. Dr. Laura Barbins, bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, said. "As a matter of fact, I've been a bishop for two and a half years and this is my first opportunity to do this. No one else gets all these folks together."

Bishops, reverends, pastors, and rabbis were all in the room, along with academic and political leaders from across the area. It's a community Seder, the time to share a meal and some understanding from different walks of life.

"It's our call to work together with people from all faiths from all over the world all over the community," Bishop-elect Anne B. Jolley of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio, told 3News. "Our High Holy Days are coming up, they're in the midst of their High Holy Days. They almost always coincide."

They are sharing the message of freedom, but also of love, understanding and being there for your neighbor in times of need. Today, that means educating about a rise in antisemitic acts.

"One in four Jews report being the target of antisemitism," a speaker noted.

The American Jewish Committee recently released its Antisemitism in America Report, which shows two thirds of Jews have seen antisemitism online or on social media over the past year. That number rises to more than 80% for people under the age of 30, so now is a chance for them to reconnect with their allies of many faiths.

"Be a united voice," Barbins said. "Even though we're not in absolute agreement for everything, [it] reminds people that we can, indeed, be together and be a voice for good in the world."

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