By Laura Linder
I came across a prayer, used by Federation in the 1980s when we were fighting for the freedom of our Jewish family in the Former Soviet Union. With just a few word changes, this prayer again is so relevant for our times. I hope these words will resonate with you and will be shared with family and friends at your seder table.
“This Passover, we remember our ancestors, the Israelites, who walked through the desert driven by the same dreams, visions, and hopes that inspire us all. We remember the victims of the Holocaust who were unable to escape the horrors of the Shoah. And we think of the Ukrainians who are attempting to escape the cruelty of Putin, many forced to walk towards freedom, leaving their homes and loved ones behind.
In Memphis, Jews gather for Passover seder in the safety and comfort of our homes. On the other side of the world, Ukrainian Jews reel in the despair from the loss of life, the constant merciless attacks against innocent civilians, the fear of wondering where and when the next attack will occur, and the knowledge that they may never be able to return to their homeland.
If we are not for one another, who will be for us?
Let us take a moment to reflect on our freedom. May there come a time, in the not-too-distant future, when Jews around the world can feel freedom from hunger and poverty. There is no doubt that the crisis in Ukraine and resulting inflation will significantly impact families in need and we, as always, will be ready to do our part. Together, we will be there to overcome this crisis, the next, and whatever lays ahead.
Let us pray as we break the bread of affliction that our brethren can find peace, security, and renewed prosperity in the days ahead. Let us renew our promise to extend ourselves, to meet our responsibility toward them, and to do our utmost to alleviate the suffering of any Jew anywhere in need or danger.
And when we say ‘Next year in Jerusalem’, let us pray for peace for all people everywhere.”
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and a joyous Passover.