1/2 April 2022, 28 Adar (II)/1 Nisan 5782

Pesach is now around the corner. The next milestone for us as Jews and so we direct ourselves towards it; practically we are taking bookings now for our first in-house communal seder for three years (book your place here) and emotionally as our congregation responds to the war in Ukraine. Some of our congregations have already welcomed refugees into their spare rooms.

I believe empathy is at the heart of Judaism. And that beating heart is our Passover story. You shall tell your child this is what God did for me taking me out of Egypt. This verse from Exodus is repeated in the Passover Seder and the memory of liberation and the experience of hardship is referenced every Shabbat. It is literally our life blood as Jews.

We Liberal Jews take seriously the kavannah, spiritual intention of our Jewish practice. So making Seder and Passover meaningful and relevant every year. We bring the world and all that has happened to our Seder tables.

How meaningful then our response to those fleeing Ukraine, as our response to refugees from Afghanistan and Syria. We are well placed to respond with real empathy and practical skills we’ve honed. And that’s why we at Liberal Judaism and in our constituent synagogues are responding to the need to open our homes and enable sanctuary for Ukrainians this Passover. We won’t rest till we have done our bit. Sign up here if you’re interested in hosting a Ukrainian refugee.

As Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe said on her return this week, if there are some not free, then none of us are. We take that message seriously.

So when we offer the works Halachmah Anya-Let all hungry come and eat it may be very real for us inspired as we are by psalm 118

Min hameitzar karati Yah, vanani v’merchav yah.
Out of a narrow place I called to you and you answered me with wide expansiveness.

We get to model this. And I so look forward to sharing this.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Rebecca