While Passover celebrates our liberation from Egypt, our wanderings and struggles of being a stranger unfortunately do not end with the story of Passover. Even until today, Jews all over the world have faced the continuous struggle of being unwelcomed in various countries and regions. The need for an exodus and freedom is still as relevant today as it was back then in Egypt.
This Passover, as we reflect on these perpetual struggles our people have endured, we have an obligation to look at the world around us and see the similar struggles people outside of our communities are facing. We are reminded of the need for liberation when we hear of hate crimes directed towards Asian American and Pacific Islander, Black, Indigenous, and immigrant folks whose lives are consistently threatened. As we reflect on the Passover story, we realize that the exodus could not have occurred if not for the many key contributions of G-d, Moses, Aaron, and of course the Jewish people themselves. Any liberation and modern-day exodus require multiple partnerships and significant allyship. In a time filled with so much hate and a desperate need for liberation of so many people, we must spend time reflecting on how to better take action, how to be better allies, and how to support our friends and family working towards their own liberation.
This support and partnership are not easy; it demands sacrifice on our part; however, the Jewish people are no strangers to sacrifice. Both this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Tzav, and last week’s Parsha, Parshat Vayikra are replete with a wide array of sacrifices for virtually any occasion. However, for the last 2,000 years we have transitioned away from animal sacrifices and instead focused on the daily sacrifices that we make in our lives. Sacrifices ask us to give up something we cherish for a greater good. In biblical times that was animals, birds, or produce; today it is time, money, and friendships. Whatever the cost of the sacrifice, if it helps ensure a better life and a safer existence for anyone, it is a sacrifice worth making. In BBYO, we are constantly thinking about the sacrifices we must make to help those in need. We continuously ask ourselves if we are aware of the struggles people are facing. We always challenge ourselves to be better allies and we must always be willing to sacrifice in support of others working towards their own liberation.
We are fortunate enough to be a part of a diverse community, made up of passionate teens and staff that look inwards and create solutions to the struggles in the world. So, as we commemorate the story of Passover and honor the struggle that our ancestors once faced as slaves in Egypt, we also acknowledge the struggles that our diaspora continues to face. We take action and we work to find the desired exodus… freedom.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach,
Kelly Fagel and Daniel Perlman
From the current Grand Aleph Shaliach and International Sh'licha.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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