Seder for Dalai Lama

WASHINGTON — Advocates of religious freedom in Tibet found a new ally last week as the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism hosted a seder for the Dalai Lama.

"I think that right from the beginning, the Tibetans learned that we must copy some of the Jewish determination and the techniques they have used to keep their identity, their religious faith, their traditions under difficult circumstances," the Dalai Lama told about 40 people gathered for the seder at the Dupont Circle offices of the RAC.

Sporting a black yarmulke and his customary garnet and gold robes, the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, attended his first seder and had his first taste of matzah, telling participants that it was "very tasty."

The Dalai Lama was exiled to India in the 1950s for preaching Tibetan autonomy from China.

Slapping his knee to the tune of "Dayenu," the Dalai Lama thanked the Reform movement for bringing "attention to the issue of Tibetan suffering and the slavery which now exists in our country."

Attended by a wide range of guests that included U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Adam Yauch, a member of the hip-hop group the Beastie Boys, the seder added to the traditional Jewish call, "Next year in Jerusalem," a new blessing: Next year in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.