As we gathered as a family around the Seder table, celebrating Passover, we were once again reminded of how fragile it is, this thing we call freedom.
There was solemnity as we told the story of the exodus of the Jews from over 400 years of slavery in Egypt three thousand years ago. We experienced the symbols of this struggle through food, wine, words and songs, and often the room was filled with laughter.
We didn’t have to hide our celebration, as they did in Nazi Germany some eight decades ago, or in Ukraine today, where every day they are reminded of the fragility of freedom and the price it requires to preserve it.
Every day, in all parts of the world, there is the struggle for freedom, even in America.
In Ukraine, the sirens and the roar of falling bombs cannot deter hundreds, if not thousands, of that country’s remnant Jews from reminiscing about that ultimate story of freedom and connecting it to their own struggle today.
A rabbi, it was reported, buried during the day a worshiper, victim of a Russian bullet, and prepared for that evening to celebrate the seder.
In Odessa, the Black Sea port city, 110 Jews gather at a historic hotel, raising their glasses and “drinking to live!” Let’s drink to the Passover. Let’s drink to Ukraine,” according to a USA Today article. “Their voices rise in a familiar song, growing louder under the leadership of the community’s rabbi, Avraham Wolff. Slowly, the faces creased with concern light up with joy and, as the evening lengthens, more and more laughter.
In Poland, nearly 80 years after Jews confined to Poland’s Warsaw ghetto staged an uprising against German troops, Ukrainian refugees gather near the site for a Passover seder.
“The price of this freedom is so high… but not only will we have this freedom, but we will understand what freedom is for us. Because we paid too high a price. said an attendee at the Odessa seder, according to USA Today.
Passover lasts for a week, and while in most homes seders are only held on the first two days, dietary restrictions during this week continue to remind us of the importance of this holiday.
For me, there are few observances that are so important. Freedom is fragile, and it sometimes erodes quickly, or like a slow drip, slowly. We only miss him when he’s gone.
What’sUpNewp is your independent source for what’s happening in Newport, RI; Rhode Island; Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Nantucket, MA, Stowe, VT; and beyond. Send topical tips, story ideas, corrections and questions to [email protected]