Interfaith Relations

"We have the power to change things.
It doesn't take much to start a revolution of thought and spirit...We have to have the
willingness to be respectful of eachother, to celebrate our differences
and not let differences become obstacles. Its a responsibility and a chore.
But when it works, it's
a work of art."

Lenny speaks at a Holocaust Memorial Service at Auschwitz, Poland in 1986,
with Cardinal Vetter of Munich, Cardinal Law of Boston,
Cardinal Maharski of Krakow, Kitty Dukakis, Sonia Weitz, and Sandy Bakeler.

One of Lenny's main goals as a civil rights activist was to find a way to bring people together. He believed that, in essense, all people had a lot in common, while still being able to have a strong sense of their own heritage, religion, ethnicity and culture. As a Jew, Lenny believed that it was important for him to have a strong base of knowledge about Judaism in order for him to realistically be part of a movement to create positive dialogue with the Catholic or Black community.

In the past, Boston has been famous for its racial and ethnic conflicts and tensions. Lenny's ideas for interfaith activity sprung from this need for a leader who had the skills, character, personality, strength, and energy to bring all of the churches, synagogues, and mosques, the priests, archbishops, rabbis, and preachers together. Lenny had the strength to build bridges connecting the Catholic community and Black community with the Jewish community. He did this by sharing Jewish customs, in the hope that others would then want to share their traditions with the Jewish community.

Rev. Charles Stith, Leonard Zakim, and local rabbis and ministers
protest apartheid at the deak Perrera in Boston, 1984.

Interfaith Passover Seders
Created by Lenny Zakim

Passover-a week long holiday celebrating the ancient exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, focuses primarily on the theme of liberation. The name Passover refers to the 10th and final plague inflicted on the Egyptians in the Exodus story in which the first born of every Egyptian household was killed-even as the Angel of Death "passed over" the homes of the Israelite slaves. It was this plague which led to Pharoah's decision to free the slaves.

Seder-(means Order) The gathering which takes place in Jewish homes throughout the world on the first and second nights of the festival of Passover. The word seder describes the event, which includes the reading of the haggadah, the singing of traditional Passover songs and eating an evening meal with friends and family.

Haggadah-(means the Story or telling) The Haggaday is the book that guides the seder. Every community of Jews has its own haggadah, which may include artwork, poetry, political commentary, or history. All haggadahs contain the same structure for the seder.

For more information about passover: or

To learn about the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization: