Those of you who have gotten to know me over the years may recall that Passover is my favorite holiday. The memories of the Seders I enjoyed both in Brooklyn and in Merrick (Long Island) growing up are among my fondest. And, the celebrations of Passover here in Jacksonville have continued to be meaningful and happy occasions.
My father used to say, "that anything worth saying is worth repeating and anything worth repeating is worth saying," (must be why I love to repeat so many stories), so forgive me if you have heard me say this before.
For me, the two most significant things we read in the Haggadah are at the beginning and the end. Near the beginning we explain that "we are to teach this story to our children and that we should experience this as if we were slaves unto Pharoah." At the conclusion, we repeat each year, "Next year in Jerusalem."
Our Passover story takes us from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Israel, and is a graphic depiction of going from darkness to light. I believe that this is one of the most compelling reasons for how we have managed to not only survive but to do so in such an incredible way as a people. We seem to know that no matter how dark it may be, as a people we will find the light. Perhaps this is how only three years after the Holocaust, the State of Israel was established.
Israel is a reality for so many of us. For many of our parents and grandparents, Israel was a dream. It is truly amazing that we get to go to Israel. We have Israel as so much a part of our lives. Perhaps one of the things to take away from saying, "Next year in Jerusalem," is that we should not take her for granted.
All of us here at Federation, wish you a wonderful and joyous Passover.