What a year we have endured, what losses we’ve had and yet what resilience we have built. Twelve months ago, when we were preparing for Passover in lockdown, a virtual Seder felt such a novelty… yet here we are still.
There is a difference now – with an end to lockdown and a return to something approaching a return to regular life in sight. We know that brings fear for many of us as well as the sense of possibility.
From a narrow place we have come, Psalm 118 reminds us, min ha-metzar karati Yah, anani v’merchav Yah, “In my distress, I cried out to God, who answered me and set me free”.
We are grateful for the vaccination programme in our country which gives hope. And we will all be in a better place only when all people have access to it.
This is why Liberal Judaism is supporting a UNICEF initiative that promotes worldwide access to vaccines. We ask those who are able to make a small donation after receiving their own vaccine, to help get it to billions of others in some of the poorest and most remote parts of the world. Please see www.vaccinaid.org for more details.
Passover is our festival of freedom. It’s a telling of our journey as the Jewish people and the radical empathy that inspires us. Preparing spiritually for what we let go of is as important as the kitchen cleaning and the Sedarim.
The Haggadah calls us to live this moment as if we’ve come out of Egypt. That message is more powerful this year than ever.
On the first night, we start a journey that culminates on the last day, when the first Israelite, Nachshon ben Aminadav stepped into the waters and paved the way.
Liberal Jews will sit before their screens for Seder on Saturday and/or Sunday evening. Let us remember that it is only the first step. Assuredly, we will emerge and reach the other side of the sea and continue our voyage as a united community, with kindness and empathy.
Chag Pesach Sameach
Rabbi Rebecca Birk and Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel
Co-Chairs of CoLRaC (Conference of Liberal Rabbis and Cantors)
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