Jewish families all around the world celebrate Passover at the same time. Like my family, I’m sure you have unique traditions that make your seder familiar and special. Ours generally includes Moses (in full desert garb) leading the service and lots of singing. As we retell the story of our exodus from Egypt, I am reminded that what makes a community is the people in it and not the place where one resides. Unable to take many physical belongings with them, the Israelites made a communal home in the desert for 40 years before reaching the end of their journey. Building a vibrant Jewish community where we can feel more connected to one another and rejoice in our heritage is an important value for the Federation.
Another important Federation value is our ties to Israel, which are strong and present in many Jewish rituals and customs. As our seders draw to a close each year, we end with the hope of “Next year in Jerusalem.” Many of us who have been to Israel know it is a special place. In just 70 years, Israel has fostered a culture of tenacity, innovation, and technology admired worldwide. For those who haven’t visited there, this spring presents a chance to experience the country at Howard County’s biggest Israel celebration to date. On May 6, join the community at the Federation’s Israel at 70 Festival, which will feature Israeli food, music, and fun for the whole family. Experience Israel for an afternoon and celebrate her amazing achievements over the past 70 years.
Our Passover seder honors the past by retelling our story. Another way we honor the past is through our Yom HaShoah service, held this year on April 11 at the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center. We hope you will join us for this solemn occasion to honor the survivors among us and remember those who perished. And in the continuing spirit of tikkun olam, please join one of our many volunteer sites for Good Deeds Day on April 15 to help others and do a mitzvah. There are so many ways we are a community, creating connections with one another… and without the need to wander in the desert for 40 years.