By the time you read this article, the hardest part of preparing for Pesach will be over. I often have to remind myself, as I help my wife scrub the fridge and counters, that it is all well worth the effort. And although the preparation can be time consuming and physically taxing (admittedly mostly for my wonderful wife), it is also a time that the family comes together, as Rabbi Weinberg put it a few weeks ago, to make (‘La’asot’) the holiday. It is through this hard work that we gain insight into what slavery was like for the Jews in Egypt, and it is through the Seder feast that we get a taste of the Exodus and the liberation from bondage.
Pesach comes to remind us that it is the family that is the center of Jewish life. The Seder is celebrated, not in the synagogue, but in the home. And it is not a teacher who must impart our heritage to the child, but the father who must answer the child’s questions. This is an obligation we should treasure from generation to generation: Le-dor va-dor. On Pesach we are also reminded that the Jewish home must extend hospitality to the lonely, the forsaken, the poor, and the hungry—that before the family gathers around the table, the doors must be opened to the stranger. It is this particular lesson that reminds me of our Shul.
Our doors are open to everyone. Whether it is someone passing through town or a prospective new member that recently moved into the neighborhood, we don’t hesitate to reach out, invite him or her for meals, and extend a warm welcoming hand. It is this closeness, this feeling of family that gives our shul its character and unique charm. I hope you will all spend some time with us at shul during the holiday. Whether it is during Yom Tov or Chol Hamoed, we look forward to seeing you and sharing the holiday together as an extended family.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank the “heartn-soul” of our congregation, our core volunteers, for all the wonderful programs they helped organize during the past three months. I hope that many of you had the opportunity to attend the Chanukah Party, Erev Shira (Evening of Song), the Community Friday Night Shabbat Dinner, the Books and Bagels classes, the Tu B’shevat seder, the Purim party, the Chess Tournament, or Movie Night. All of these special events were possible because a devoted volunteer spent a lot of time behind the scenes to make sure things went smoothly. We are greatly indebted to them and we look forward to more excellent programming in the future.
My best wishes for a happy Pesach to each of you and our families.