At Passover, we are enjoined to remember what it is like to be a stranger in a strange land; “You shall not oppress the stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt” (Exodus 23:9).
At Passover, we are urged to welcome that stranger and anyone else who is hungry to join our Seder and share our food.
At Passover, we review the 10 plagues that wreaked havoc on the community in which our ancestors lived.
At Passover, we recite the four questions and ponder their meaning.
But this year is different. Passover is more than just the celebration of our freedom from slavery and recalling what it was like to wander in the desert with no one to help us.
This year we are all facing a global plague that has forced us into a desert of social isolation, void of human contact, and for some, basic needs. We cannot open our doors to our neighbors, let alone the stranger, and the 10 plagues are overshadowed by Covid-19, which has created a whole new level of what it means to be vulnerable.
Ma nishtanah hashannah hazeh mikol haleilot? (Why is this year different from all others?)
This year, Passover is unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes. But that doesn’t mean we have to keep to ourselves and shun the stranger or the needy.
As Haver, the Rabbinic Council of Boulder, we ask that you consider the immediate and long-term needs in our region and open your hearts to support the most fragile, the downtrodden, the loneliest, the oldest, the youngest, and the stranger. Whether it be financially or through volunteer support, every donation counts.
Covid-19 will impact our community in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
For our part, we have pledged a sizable, repeating donation to Community Food Share to support the food insecure in Boulder. But there will be many other needs in the days and months to come. Unemployment and underemployment will create hardships felt throughout Boulder County among individuals, non-profit organizations, houses of worship, and other support services.
This Passover, please contribute to the places that you feel are making a difference to the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our society. Rather than offer a list, we ask you to search in your heart and give impactfully.
Haver, The Rabbinic Council of Boulder