Right around the corner, on April 6th, Passover begins. Passover is the holiday that is most widely observed by Jews the world over. It marks our deliverance from slavery and the beginning of our journey together as a people. It occurred sometime roughly 3,300 years ago. It is at the very center of our epic as a people.

Year after year after year, observance of Passover has been a time when we reaffirm who we are and from whence we come. For many, it is the quintessential Jewish experience. Annual Passover Seders have kept the spark of Judaism alive for Jews for whom it was the only Jewish observance of the year for a period in their lives. As commanded in Exodus 13:3 Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, for by  strength the hand of God brought you out from this place. And, remember we have.

Each age and time has its challenges, plagues and opportunities for emancipation. In every time, the Passover saga resonates with our personal desires to be released from whatever narrow places in which we find ourselves confined. These may be emotional, physical, interpersonal or spiritual. But, as with our ancestors, release is only the beginning of a very long journey to somewhere else. We did not become a strong people by simply adding water and stirring. It was on the journey that we became a people, and it  is on a journey that we become and remain a community. So it is at Oak Park Temple. It is on our journey together, our shared prayer, activities and tikkun olam, through which we create a sense of sacred community, kehilah kedoshah.

As with so many things Jewish, Passover is not an observance that should be done  alone. Many of us have very fond memories of family and friends, some long gone, with whom we shared the traditional foods and told of the story of the “going out” from Egypt. Passover Seders have been a place where Jewish identities have been affirmed and strengthened. 

May this be a season of emancipation and release from all confinements with which you struggle. My family and I wish you a “zeisen Pesach,” a ‘sweet Passover.

Together we are emancipated and together we journey. 


Jeff Blaine

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