I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who attended our “Bar Mitzvah” Gala last Sunday. It was a beautiful, overwhelming celebration. I also want to thank all of you who were not able to join us, but wrote me notes in the Gala Memory Book, sent me private messages, made donations to the synagogue, and/or supplied raffle and auction items. Cheryl, Abigail and Jonah join me in thanking each of you for creating our incredible spiritual home. Thank you!
We also want to take this opportunity to wish you a meaningful Passover! Last Friday night, I spoke about the fact that the Haggadah reminds us we are in many ways still burdened by slavery. While we might feel totally free, we know that there are currently 27,000,000 slaves in the world today! At services last week, I encouraged folks to visit MADE IN A FREE WORLD and learn about modern day slavery. In addition, this site will teach you how you can help eliminate slavery once and for all. There are tremendous resources on the site that some of you might choose to add to your seder this year. Remember, our tradition teaches us that we are still wrestling with slavery today. Made In A Free World drives this point home.
The Haggadah also teaches us that we have still not truly reached the Promised Land. This is why we say “Next year in Jerusalem!” at the end of the seder. This confuses many people because as Jews, we can get on a plane and travel to Israel. We can even make aliyah and move to Israel permanently. Yes, this is true, however, the Haggadah is urging us to remember that many people all over the world have not reached their promised land. As I spoke about last Friday night, there are more than 50,000,000 refugees in the world today – people struggling to find a safe place to call home. This Passover, we need to do our part to help these people. I highlighted the fact that some of these people struggling to find a safe haven are our own brothers and sisters from the Ukraine. You can read more about the struggle of Ukranian Jews and learn how you can help them right now by visiting the American Joint Distribution Committee’s website.
On a lighter note, I have prepared a special Passover music playlist: Because We Still Have Seas To Cross – 8 Songs for Passover. Although our ancestors made it to the other side of the Red Sea, each of us has our own personal seas before us. These eight songs, one for each day of Passover, offer inspiring messages that can help us as we cross these seas. (Please note that Ramat Shalom, like many synagogues, follows the Israeli calendar and celebrates 7 days of Passover. For those who follow the Israeli calendar – you get a bonus song!). You can listen to the playlist HERE.
Chag Sameach! Have a wonderful Passover. Please remember, because of the first seder, there are NO SERVICES TONIGHT. May we all cross the sea with family and friends and celebrate as we get to the other side!