Passover Message 2023/5783 from Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
April 3, 2023
Rabbi Deborah Waxman, Ph.D.
President and CEO, Reconstructing Judaism
As Passover approaches, I’ve been thinking about the reasons why I’m a religious Jew, sparked significantly by a recent Reconstructionist pilgrimage to civil rights sites in the south. I’m wrestling with how to incorporate this powerful, painful and staggering experience into our celebration of freedom, in a way that respects the experiences of Black people—and Black Jews.
I invite you to explore these questions with me in this video teaching. Like the Passover Haggadah, like so much of Jewish wisdom, we are encouraged to ask big and challenging questions in community and to figure out the responses, however provisional, together.
May your seders be delicious and full of equally nourishing conversation and connection. May you know liberation and may you be strengthened in your efforts to help others know the same.
May you have a sweet and a meaningful Passover. Hag same’akh!
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Usually, on Passover, we ask “How is this night different from all other nights?”. This year, many of us are asking, “How does this Passover resemble any we’ve ever experienced?” While social distancing has seemingly changed everything, Passover is still about telling the story of going from oppression to freedom.
Based on our understanding of the science and the advice of experts, we, rabbis of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, strongly come down on the side of pikuach nefesh – preserving lives. Therefore, we are issuing these guidelines in preparation for the upcoming Passover holiday and in awareness of the likelihood of continued concern over disease spread at this time.