Why a Cross on the Seder Table?

Now that the chocolate rabbits have been consumed, and the leftover horseradish from Seder plates is getting pushed to the back of the refrigerator, it may be the right moment to ponder how Christians share so much Jewish heritage. But Meredith Gould – born a Jew, a convert to Christianity – says that very few of the Christians she meets really “get” their Jewish roots.

In her latest of seven books,“Why is There a Menorah on the Altar: Jewish Roots of Christian Worship,” she takes it step by step, how Hebrew scriptures influenced current Christian rituals like baptism, Holy Communion, and confirmation.

In an April 11 talk Gould will reveal her own spiritual journey from the synagogue to the church. She speaks at Princeton United Methodist Church (corner of Nassau & Vandeventer) on Sunday, April 11, at 8 a.m. For $5 reservations call 609-924-2613 or email office@princetonumc.org, but honestly, if you just show up, there’ll be enough scrambled eggs.

“Generally speaking, personal conversations about my cultural and religious identity do not go particularly well,” she admits. “Ask me what I am and brace yourself for what happens next. I’ll tell you that I consider myself a Jew in identity, a Christian in faith.”

With a BA from Queens College and a PhD in sociology from New York University, Gould focuses on such health and wellness issues as patient education, adherence, and healthcare outcomes. She’s considered an “infomediary,” the term for someone who translates jargon into readable text. Also a consultant to faith-based organizations – I believe she did a Christian Seder for several churches this Lenten season — she blogs about her faith. She also Twitters her faith — yes, you can do that in a Twitter feed. Every night she ReTweets “Virtual Abbey,” which prays the compline, or end-of-day prayers. She will sign copies of Why is There a Menorah On the Altar? after the talk.

Among her other books, some in Kindle versions: Deliberate Acts of Kindness, The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church and Faith Today, by Morehouse Publishing as well as The Catholic Home: Celebrations and Traditions for Feast Days, Holy Days and Everyday (Doubleday), and Working at Home: Making it Work For You.

I’ve known Meredith for nearly 30 years and she’s never boring. Witty, pungent, succinct, sometimes acerbic, but not boring. Yet over time (and perhaps with Christ in her heart??) I’ve seen her mellow, and I’m really looking forward to hearing her talk about her faith.

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