April 3, 2023
By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO
On Wednesday this past week, your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle held its biennial Legislative Seder. At this gathering, state lawmakers and legislative staff from many faith backgrounds heard the story of the Exodus that the Jewish people have retold for millennia. The Legislative Seder is a compelling way to share with our elected representatives the Jewish values that are the foundation of our advocacy work in Olympia.
For many of us gathered with family and friends around our Passover Seder tables a few nights from now, those values will be a thread guiding our conversations about lessons that our flight from slavery holds for today. Long after our people’s escape from the narrow place, we engage in the powerful sensory experience of the Seder every year to reflect anew on Passover’s meaning.
Here in Seattle, surrounded by forests and water on these brisk spring days, we are a long way from the Sinai Desert. Yet our journey out of Sinai toward freedom remains incomplete. The attainment of freedom in its broadest sense would be a world where all people can live their lives in peace, free of oppressions and secure from dangers rooted in fear.
The recent release of the Anti-Defamation League’s annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents is a disturbing reminder that we have not arrived in that world. Antisemitic incidents in our country reached an all-time high in 2022, a trend that has been building for years. More people hold antisemitic attitudes and believe antisemitic tropes. Our work for a just and welcoming world without hate remains the unfinished business of our time.
Yet a foundational message of the Passover Seder is that hope must triumph. We have places at our table for Miriam and Elijah, enduring symbols of resilience and redemption. We drink four cups of wine that represent deliverance. At Seder’s end, we proclaim, “Next year in Jerusalem,” a powerful reminder that we will create for all a world of freedom in the fullest sense of the word. Our values call on each of us to work toward that day.
We wish you and your loved ones a happy and healthy Passover.
Chag Pesach Sameach!