These are challenging and uncertain times for our community, our country, Israel and the world.
We all appreciate the irony that the Passover traditions that we cherish are canceled this year because of a modern-day plague. But just as we survived our exodus from Egypt, we will weather this pandemic based on our shared Jewish values.
Passover, ultimately a celebration of freedom, celebrates the miracle that God 'passed over' Jewish houses during the 10th plague on the Egyptians, the slaying of the first born. COVID-19, on the other hand, has impacted everyone. But even though we are all facing limitations on our movements, our physical distance will not keep us from supporting each other.
In fact, we are working more closely than ever to ensure that we remain connected, strong and healthy. Although the offices of all Federations and partner agencies across the globe are closed, the Jewish community remains open. Federations across the country mobilized immediately, translating the Jewish value of 'כל ישראל ערבים זה לזה - All of Israel are responsible for one another' into action, by reaching out to support their local community members in this time of dire need for many.
Throughout the course of history, the Jewish community has confronted countless challenges. We have come through each one more resilient and better equipped to face the next challenge that comes our way. The adage that true character is formed and revealed in the face of adversity has never been more relevant.
Most of you are reading this from your temporary home office. This year, the guest list for your Passover Seder will be limited to those who live together under one roof due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis. However, by self-isolating in our homes, we are in fact coming together as a community, protecting our loved ones and family, near and extended. By acting collectively today, we are ensuring a better tomorrow. I can’t think of a better example of 'תיקון עולם - tikkun olam'.
On behalf of the team at Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA in Canada and Israel, I hope you and your families remain healthy throughout this crisis.
I wish you a happy and healthy Passover. And this year more than ever, I mean it when I say, ‘Next year in Jerusalem’.