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This legislative session, members of the Florida legislature are working to pass legislation that will chill free speech and assembly by threatening to criminalize peaceful public protest. The bill would intimidate and punish peaceful protesters.
As the High Holidays approach once again, we have created a number of resources for individuals and congregations to utilize as we mark these most important days in the Jewish calendar. We know we will be a stronger, more vibrant Jewish community when we fully incorporate the diversity that is the reality of modern Jewish life. We hope that each of these materials will help your High Holiday experiences and programming serve a wide range of identities and help you create communities of belonging.
On Passover, we recount the Ten Plagues that were put upon the Egyptian people. While acknowledging the ancient plagues, we invite you to also incorporate into your Seder an accounting of some of the "plagues" and injustices that afflict our present-day society.
On the first night of Passover, Jews around the world gather for a Seder during which the story of our ancestors' liberation from Egypt is retold. Tradition dictates that as part of the seder, the youngest person present and able asks four questions, including "Why is this night different from all others?" But each of us, no matter our age, can ask challenging questions that lead to new insights about injustice and liberation that can be applied to the modern day.
As the buds of Spring emerge and Jews across the world began preparing for Passover, here in Pennsylvania we see glimmers of hope that we too will be taking steps to celebrate freedom and democracy. With a March 16 th State Supreme Court Decision, the Commonwealth got more equitable and racially just maps, and RAC-PA won our first campaign!
I’m praying that these weeks of consolation before the High Holidays will give us the time to confront our sins and respond in ways that will help us to heal from our brokenness and find the courage and resolve to build a better year for all.
"Have we forgotten the call of the shofar already / To gather and stand up for what’s right? / Have we forgotten what shofar’s demanding / That we pursue justice, compassion, holy light?"
I joined America’s Journey for Justice in North Carolina during the week of Nitzavim, a portion that will be read again on the morning of Yom Kippur. It describes for us that moment when our ancestors stood at Sinai to enter into covenant with God.
Passover is my favorite time of year. More than exchanging presents on Hanukkah or blowing shofar by on the beaches of the Atlantic on Rosh Hashanah (my family’s tradition), Passover is when I am most able to connect with my family and my own Jewish values. While the extended meal and Seder lend themselves easily to close interpersonal and spiritual renewal, it’s the central concepts of Passover that make me return to this time of year again and again with excitement and energy; Passover is a holiday about social justice and freedom from oppression. It is an opportunity, among family and friends, to dig deeper into the issues of our time.
By Erin Glazer As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about what my daughter eats. And if I stop thinking about it, even for just a minute, she reminds me! Our days are peppered with refrains of “I’m still hungry” or “I want a snack.” Like most parents, I do my best to make sure she has a balanced diet, with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure. Even on her pickiest days, I know that my daughter is well fed. I can’t imagine opening the refrigerator only to find empty shelves, or worrying every morning about whether or not I have enough food to pack in her owl-shaped lunch box. And yet, for too many American families, this is the harsh reality of daily life.