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Find Out More, Session 5: The Gift Of Invitation

In "Wonderful Welcome," a Tapestry of Faith program

Stories about Elijah

Elijah the Prophet from Hebrew scripture appears in many apocryphal stories. Typically, Elijah, disguised as a poor beggar, visits people to test their compassion and generosity; those who welcome and help this stranger are often materially rewarded. Here are some sources for Elijah stories:

Elijah's Tears: Stories for the Jewish Holidays by Sydelle Pearl (Pelican Publishing Company, 2004)

God's People: Stories from the Old Testament retold by Geraldine McCaughrean (New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1997)

Tales of Elijah the Prophet by Peninnah Schram (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1991)

The Mysterious Visitor: Stories about the Prophet Elijah by Nina Jaffe (New York: Scholastic Press, 1997)

The Uninvited Guest and Other Jewish Holiday Tales by Nina Jaffe (New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1993)

Elijah in the Passover Seder

The word "seder" means "order" in Hebrew. Celebrants usually use a "hagaddah" as a manual to guide them through the rituals of the Seder meal. A haggadah includes instructions to open the door for Elijah and to fill Elijah's cup with wine. In addition to welcoming Elijah, some contemporary Seders also welcome the prophet, Miriam, by including an orange on the plate of ceremonial foods and pouring an additional cup of wine.

Two haggadot that can help introduce the Passover Seder to young children are Why on This Night? A Passover Haggadah for Family Celebration by Rahel Musleah (New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2000), which includes a common, simple Elijah folktale and The Family Haggada by Ellen Schecter (New York: Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 1999).

Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion, written and compiled by Eric Kimmel (New York: Scholastic Press, 2004) contains a complex Elijah tale and information about the Miriam's Cup rituals.

Multilingual Welcome

A number of online resources provide pronunciation and/or correct way to write words of welcome in different languages besides English. The website Omniglot: The Online Encyclopedia of Writing Systems and Languages provides a list of "welcome" in multiple languages including Maltese and Serbian.

"Peace, Salaam, Shalom"

Find a link in the text of Pat Humphries' online biography to hear her perform the song, "Peace, Salaam, Shalom."

A You Tube video presents "Selam Shalom Shlomo," a song in Amharic (Ethiopia), German and Lingala (Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo) by the band, Karibuni.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Sunday, November 9, 2014.

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