By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
On Friday and/or Saturday evening, many of us will gather with family and friends at Passover Seders for retelling of the timeless story of our people’s escape from slavery and our journey toward freedom.
One of the remarkable aspects of the Seder is that everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social standing, is invited to ask questions and express opinions. All who are hungry are invited to join the gathering and share in the meal. The retelling of the Exodus story in the Seder, in essence, is a true expression of belonging and of freedom. The Seder teaches us that freedom is not complete unless all are free.
The Exodus story is always timely, but given the state of our world, even more so today. Millions of people are suffering in humanitarian crises in Afghanistan, Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Myanmar, and many other places. Ukrainians are suffering from the oppression of war, fear, and deprivation. Millions have fled from their homes to escape the horror. Thousands of Ukrainian Jews are making Aliyah and restarting their lives in Israel, and many Ukrainians are likely to resettle in the Puget Sound region. Welcoming people fleeing danger and oppression is central to our Jewish tradition. Here in faraway Seattle, we are doing what we must to help our mishpacha to regain their freedom to live their lives in peace.
The Seder tells the Exodus story through a uniquely sensory experience that connects the events of the long-ago past to our lives today. We see the lit candles. We hear the blessings. We pour water over our hands to cleanse them. We taste the ritual foods and the four cups of wine that symbolize the redemptive promises of freedom.
At the close of the Seder, we proclaim, “Next year in Jerusalem,” an expression of hope for leaving the narrow place (Egypt) behind and seeing a brighter future for the Jewish people and for a peaceful world of justice, belonging, and freedom for all.
We pray for peace and wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Passover.
Chag Pesach Sameach,