Welcome! I am Rabbi Jonathan Biatch of Madison, Wisconsin. "Pulpit Perspectives: My Observations as a Congregational Rabbi" is published every two weeks to reflect my observations about life in my congregation and with my members. The opinions expressed here are solely my own. I invite you to join the dialogue!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Passover Celebration During Difficult Times

I hope that the holiday of Passover will be a happy one for us all.  I express this hope because this is not a particularly easy or happy time for Jews around the world.

From the shootings of a rabbi and his children in Toulouse, to the harassment of a day school student in Paris; from the newly found graffiti on a Chicago area synagogue, to the threat of divestment from Israel by Presbyterians in the United States; and from the anti-Israel threats of the regime in Iran, to the anti-American rhetoric (in my opinion) of those in certain Christian pulpits – and in thoughts and actions of certain candidates for President – who wish ours to be a “Christian nation”: This is a hard time to be a Jew.

It is our duty, at this time of year, to be attuned to the needs of the less fortunate among us.  Yet it’s becoming more of a challenge to empathize with those in need when we, ourselves, are facing the threat of attack and actual violence because of our being Jewish.  We cannot and must not retreat from Jewish life, and we cannot back away from reaching out to those who need our help.

So at this time of Passover, please look for ways to help in our community.  By ourselves we will not be able to stop the attacks, verbal and physical, on Jews, and we must always be on our guard.  But we still can help others who face violence on account of their skin color, sexual orientation, religion, or national differences.

Our Haggadah says that “In each generation, each of us must view ourselves as though we, personally, came forth out of Egypt.”  Each of us has the obligation to empathize – and then help – with the job of repairing and perfecting our world.  Let us not give up this struggle.  Let us bring life to all.

May your Passover be a good and happy one!