Week In Review 4-3-2020
Jews have been forced to find unique ways to celebrate holidays when antisemitism and persecution threatened their existence. Jews learned to be creative - and daring. Today we face the challenge of celebrating Passover in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
We are all separated from our families and friends during a time when the very essence of the holiday is to gather around the table for a Seder. This will be a Passover like no other for the Jewish people. But this is not the first time that we have been forced to celebrate in the face of adversity.
In April of 1943, Jews in the Warsaw ghetto were on the verge of deportation. Nevertheless, they continued with their preparations for Passover as best they could. The Germans forces entered the ghetto on April 19, the eve of Passover. The Jews bravely held a a Seder with whatever they had amidst the sounds of gun fire and tanks. That was a Passover like no other.
During the Spanish inquisition, Jews kept Passover under unimaginable circumstances and celebrated in secrecy. Christians encouraged their Jewish neighbors to hold a Seder on the fifth night so as not to arouse suspicion. That was Passover like no other.
Jews in Theresienstadt ate bread at their secret Seder. Because of the extremely small amount of calories prisoners were receiving in the camps, abstaining from bread would mean certain death. That was a Passover like no other.
In 1948, the Arab forces had severed the supply line to Jewish Jerusalem. Food was scarce and rations were at starvation levels. There was not sufficient wine, matzah, or bitter herbs for the all the people of the city to make even a token seder. Miraculously, for Passover a convoy made it through carrying supplies and delivering some matzah. This first meager seder, in the new state of Israel was a Passover like no other.
We will get through this difficult time. We have proven to be resilient and strong as we have stepped up to face every challenge throughout history. This moment will be no different.
Next year, together with our families.