Leaving Egypt: The Passover Reminder of Resiliency

Tags: Federation, Blog, Israel

  • Share This Story

Each year, as we retell the story of the Jewish people’s exodus from Egypt, we think about seders of the past. Everyone has a role: who reads what part in the Haggadah, who sits quietly hoping they won’t be called on, who asks the four questions, who kicks their sister or brother under the table, who brings the soup or the special family dessert ... who just won’t stop talking ... we all have our roles and our questions.

This year we ask a slightly different question: Ma Nishtana HaShana HaZot – Why is this year different from all others?

It’s different because this year we set an additional place at our tables for Shlomo Mantzur and all the other people stolen by Hamas that remain captive in Gaza. Because this year, we have experienced tremendous horror and devastation, as well as demonstrated incredible strength and resilience. Because this year, we are living in a time of near historic levels of hate targeting the Jewish people. Because this year, we find ourselves in our own kind of “mitzrayim” (Egypt).

Passover inspires us to stay resilient in the face of today’s challenges. It reminds us of our ability to overcome any obstacle when we work together and stay true to our values.

Fortunately, many Jews are more interested than ever in engaging with their identity and Jewish organizations today. Our young adults are showing up in record numbers for each other and at Hillels and Chabads. Likewise, more Jewish Clevelanders are showing up and participating every day.

All of which is critical because there is so much hard work that needs to be done in order for the Jewish people to leave our modern-day mitzrayim behind. Here’s how we can start:

  1. Demand Hamas release the 133 people they stole from Israel on October 7 and remain as hostages in Gaza.
  2. Go to Israel to reassure the people traumatized by the October 7 attacks by Hamas, as well as those since by Iran and its proxies, that they are not alone.
  3. Find more ways – big and small – to support and care for each other in our local Jewish community.
  4. Reject those who look to weaponize our love for the Jewish people or the people of Israel for political gain.
  5. Refuse to allow our love for the Jewish people, the land of Israel, or the people of Israel from becoming diminished by those who look to bully or intimidate us.
  6. Fight for each other and not with each other because of differing political opinions.
  7. Believe every survivor of sexual violence.
  8. Ensure that all children and young adults are physically and psychologically safe in any and all environments.
  9. Support Israel’s right to defend its people and fight terrorism, a right that all other sovereign nations have.
  10. Pray for a day after that brings peace and security to both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
We are an eternal people. The seder reminds us that we are that unbreakable link to the generations that follow. We will continue to survive and thrive but it will take all of us working together to move us forward.

L’Shana Haba’ah B’yerushalayim. Next year in Jerusalem and Cleveland, safe and with loved ones.

Chag Pesach Sameach.

Daniel N. Zelman
Board Chair

Erika B. Rudin-Luria

Learn More: Federation, Blog, Israel