EJA board member chief rabbi Jacobs, Shoah survivor Rabbi Vorst and EJA Director of public affairs Alex Benjamin met with fractie head of Dutch political party Christen Unie MP Segers and MP Bruins to discuss our Jewish red lines and to commend the party’s initiative to create a dedicated Dutch Parliament special envoy to combat antisemitism. We agreed to work together and lobby others to help get the proposal through the chamber. The MPs also heard moving testimony from Rabbi Vorst. As we explained to them: when a Holocaust survivor says they are worried about antisemitism in Holland, you know there’s something deeply wrong.
The pandemic has upended so much of our daily lives, including the most sacred: our holy days.
Millions of Jews around the world will be celebrating Pesach this evening in ways that up until a few weeks ago was unimaginable, without family around them, without the bustling celebration around the table. It will of course be hard for all of us.
Of course, the irony of celebrating our holiday of freedom whilst we are in confinement due to a plague – the coronavirus, will not be lost on us.
And yet, even amongst this adversity, we are being given the opportunity to celebrate Pesach in a unique way, loaded with significance that can, in fact, bring us closer to the story of our exodus from Egypt. How?
Let us be honest, how many of us really appreciate what freedom means? In our modern lives the vast majority of us are free to come and go as we please. This pandemic has given us a flavour of what it is like to lose freedoms that we take for granted, and in the process brings us closer to our ancestors, who lost theirs under Pharaoh. It brings the holiday alive.
Truly both nights will be different from all the others, they remind us to truly appreciate the everyday blessings that the almighty bestows on us everyday, our families, our jobs, our friends.
I wish you, and your families a Pesach Sameach, and G-d willing next year in Jerusalem!