The Journey that we take on Passover is our people's holiest journey. At the core, is the central message of what it means to be a people. It celebrates the movement from identifying with slavery to being a partner of the Holy in this world. At the Passover seder, we are told that this journey begins with the mitzvah (commandment) of welcome: "Let all who are hungry come and eat." What is consumed is the "story" that is the central story of our people's experience in history.
There is something for everyone: For the political theorist, it's the movement from individual to collective accountability. For the mystic, it's the memory of being a stranger that leads into the experience of being known by God. For the psychologist, it's the experience of pain that leads into radical empathy. For the religious, it's the experience of what it means to be stuck in a very narrow places in life leading into the freedom that embraces a vision of how the world might be and an opportunity to participate in bringing it into being. For the secular, it's the identification with the downtrodden long enough and powerfully enough that it shapes our every value.
The Passover story is the essential "our story" that forms the core of what we want everyone who identifies with being Jewish to experience: from the most innocent child to the wisest sage to the rebel. Yet there is a challenge in every generation; like there is in our own. How do we live history? How do we live such comfortable, blessed lives and know that this is ancient struggle is our own. Our children's, our people's. How do we truly experience it?
The Passover seder offers advice: "In every generation, we are to tell the story, as if we are ourselves were slaves exiting Egypt." How do we do this? At Gesher, we make it theater. We hand out slave clothing, we flee to an encampment decorated as an oasis in the middle of the Red Sea, and we feast the story in the first person. We use green onions for whips and consume home-made gefilte fish, and sing the freedom songs of our generation.
We are post holocaust Jews, who have tasted the resilience of our people's journey to Jerusalem from Auschwitz. Jews who reflect on the blessings of this world that are dearest to us as precarious and transient and therefore precious.
At Gesher, we welcome those Jews who have no memory of this journey to our feast of freedom and weave a community of friends and family, sharing the angst of slavery and the delight of freedom. We have workshops to teach you how to make home-made gefilte fish, how to celebrate in your own home the story of our people's entry into world history and we have seders for every age and every life space. You can find a whole spectrum of opportunities by visiting our website: Ourjewishhome.org May your journey this season be a holy one, weaving a memory of pain and an experience of delight!