Shalom chaverim (friends),
Every year we conclude the Passover Seder with the words, “Next year in Jerusalem!” This year, for the first time in more than 40 years, I am blessed to celebrate Passover not quite in Jerusalem, but close by, in Tel Aviv. It’s a special time in Israel. Kids have been out of school for a few days already; the smell of delicious foods wafts from every kitchen. It’s an interesting mixture of spices–Sephardi and Ashkenazi, often from the same home!
Israel today is a fulfillment of the Biblical prophecy of the return of the dispersed Israelites to their home. It isn’t yet what it can be–many still suffer from the plagues of prejudice, poverty and even hunger. The threat of war and terror still hangs over Israel. Yet the promise and joy of the season are palpable. Tonight, families and friends will gather to celebrate the most ancient holiday in our tradition, the holiday that commemorates our existence and long history.
Pesach is about our redemption from slavery, but it is also about tradition, perseverance and gratitude. It’s about memories of past sadness, but also about the sweetness of life and rebirth.
May the celebration of Passover bring joy to all who celebrate!
And for those of our community and families who celebrate Easter: What a happy coincidence that this year the two holidays merge. The blend of traditions can only fill our hearts with even more joy. May the promise of Freedom, Redemption and Rebirth fill all our homes and bring us all hope and love.
From me and my family, in Israel as well as in the United States, to you and your families: Happy Passover and Happy Easter!
Rabbi Boaz D. Heilman
Temple B’nai Israel
210 Court St.
Laconia, NH 03246