Most Viewed Stories
Message of the Week: Passover: Using our religious tradition
We tend to associate spring time with happiness and growth. Be it a harsh or a mild winter, we always enter the spring season with open arms and bright smiles. However, it's easy to forget that spring doesn't have the same connotation of warmth of growth for those who battle emotional and physical sickness, war and poverty year-round. For those individuals, spring is merely another season of pain and sorrow.
As a Jewish community, spring is the season when we celebrate the holiday of Passover in which we commemorate our freedom from slavery in Egypt. During the joyous week-long holiday, family and friends gather to hold a special dinner called a Seder (which means Order in Hebrew) on the first two nights of Passover. At the Seder, we retell the story of our journey from slavery to redemption while using special foods and props to help us recount the story and to encourage the children sitting around the Seder table to ask questions about their heritage.
As we retell the story of our past, we also look to the present and the future to see the various forms of slavery that still exist today. As we celebrate our redemption from bondage we can't help but think about the men, women and children around the world — from third world countries like Darfur to industrialized nations where the gap between the wealthy and the poor is wider than ever before. If we are blessed with relative comfort, we must at least pause to consider those who are lacking in this blessing and what we can do to lessen their suffering.
When we sit around our tables and celebrate our spring holidays — for Jews, it is Passover — we owe it to ourselves, our community and our religious tradition to remember in a substantive way those whose tables are not filled with bounty. Our devotion to God and religion should inspire us to bring freedom to those who are oppressed. We most profoundly fulfill our religious traditions when we live out our highest values of doing everything that we can to enhance the lives of others.