A number of things to focus on today.
First, the terrible events in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday tear my heart. While I have come to understand that the strife there between peoples is more ethnic than religious, the attacks came nonetheless on arguably the most important day for Christians, while people were praying. And considering we find ourselves in the midst of Pesach, our festival of freedom, we must take pause to recognize that none of us our truly free if any human being cannot pray in peace--if expressing faith places any of us in grave danger. The struggle for religious freedom continues. Peaceful co-existence remains elusive. Wherever we and our fellow human beings might find ourselves, too often it still seems like ancient Egypt, the House of Bondage.
Second, I write the following just to bring you into awareness. Late Saturday night, early Sunday morning, our northernmost sign on Sheridan Road--in front of our congregation--was likely pushed over. We don’t know why or by whom, but Jessica Katz, our security team, and the Chicago Police Department are on it. Otherwise, our building remains safe. We look forward to welcoming you there soon. Maybe to our amazing Escape from Egypt program. Check out the clip from ABC7 News: https://abc7chicago.com/religion/chicago-synagogue-opens-passover-escape-room/5258620/
Third, my heartfelt thanks to Dave Fleischman and the Men of Emanuel and Ruth Seidner for a wonderful 2nd Night Passover Seder. We appreciate your leadership and hospitality and for mustering the generosity of our community, making it easier for people to attend. If we could summon more dollars, we could cover a higher percentage of our costs and happily send some kids to camp. Your tzedakah counts!! Thanks.
Fourth, come join us this Saturday morning, April 27 at 9am as we kick-off Shalom Hartman’s special curriculum iEngage: Foundations for a New Relationship. The class will meet in the Emanuel library and will go for an hour-and-a-half. RSVP to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can’t make it but would like to create an alternative time for study either in-person or online, please let me know, and we’ll figure something out.
Engaging Israel: Foundations for a New Relationship is a series of nine lectures and conversations with Hartman Institute scholars led by Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman that responds to growing feelings of disenchantment and disinterest toward Israel among an ever-increasing number of Jews worldwide by creating a new narrative regarding the significance of Israel for Jewish life. Lecture and discussion participants include Dr. Tal Becker, Yossi Klein-Halevi, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Prof. Gil Troy and others.
I look forward to presence.
Moadim l’simcha! May these middle days of Passover be joyous!
Make it a day of blessing and be a force for good!