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Email from the Rabbi about Hatred

04/18/2014 11:15:05 AM


To My Temple Beth Am Community,

 As I write this, the smells of Passover are ruminating around my house. The sweet feelings fill my soul because on those nights we came together to celebrate the best of Judaism: tradition, culture and heritage. Passover means so much to many of us, but perhaps most of all Passover is about hope – hope for a better time.

This is the reason I am taking this time to write to all of you. As many of you may know, the week began with a horrific attack on a Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. Three individuals died as a result of hatred. This experience occurred the day prior to our celebration of hope.

To make matters worse, the Jewish world is now hearing about a story from the Ukraine. On Wednesday morning, as Jews left their synagogue after traditional morning Passover services, Ukrainian Jews were handed official looking leaflets telling them to “register” their Jewish identities and their assets. According to reports, the authenticity of the leaflets is being questioned, but the experience for our brethren is real.  This clearly resonates all too closely with the experience of our families during the Holocaust.

These two experiences during Passover have made me really think. As we sit in our homes,  with filled bellies from our festive meals, we cannot forget that we are a part of a world family that is in need. While we are free, others are not. While we are comfortable, others are threatened. While we are have so much, others need our help. Passover teaches us that it is incumbent upon us to be aware that we are connected to a Jewish WORLD community, and we must be ready to help. That is the way we can spread the hope of the Seder to others.

At this moment, Jewish leaders from across the world are looking into the Ukrainian situation. They are working in concert with the American and European authorities and are standing at the ready to offer whatever support is needed for our fellow Jewish brothers and sisters. While no action plan is in place, I ask you to read and talk about this reality, so we do not forget about our “family.” You can look to regular news agencies as well as websites from  the Anti-Defamation League, the Religious Action Center, and the Union of Reform Judaism for developments and Jewish Responses. Additionally, I ask you to be ready to participate once the needs are assessed.

Thank you for taking the time to consider the vision and the hope of Seder.


Chag Samei’ach and Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Robert Weiner

Fri, April 10 2020 16 Nisan 5780