As we enter fully into the Jewish month of Nisan and well over the 3,000th Passover celebration, we will have opportunities to dialogue, organize, learn, pray, celebrate and wrestle with the ideas of oppression and liberation in our personal lives, in our nation, and in the larger world.

We begin the month together at our Spring Community Meeting on Wednesday,April 3, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. I also hope to also see you at the Shalom center’s 50th anniversary Freedom Seder, where I will join many Mishkan Shalom members and other presenters in the program.We are an official co- sponsor of this amazing program that we are blessed to be part of, thanks to Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman--two of our luminary members.

We not only have a historic narrative of moving from slavery to becoming a liberated people for whom an erev rav or “mixed multitude of all who wished to leave” were welcome to join us - we also have modern Mitzrayim/ Egypt, which means “narrow place” in Hebrew, and modern Pharaohs. The transformative power of Passover, the most celebrated Jewish festival within and increasingly beyond the Jewish world, calls us to move towards freedom, to celebrate our simultaneously ancient and ever-relevant Seder rituals, and to link arms with all who desire to break the shackles of any internally or externally limiting oppression.

We officially stop eating leavened bread products the morning of the first Seder of Pesach, which is Friday evening,April 19 (with your Reconstructionist Haggadah).We celebrate the Shabbat of Passover. Pesach continues through the end of April 26th or 27th (depending on whether you celebrate 7 days of Passover as in Israel, the Reform and much of the Reconstructionist Movements, or eight days as in the other streams of Judaism outside of Israel. Here at Mishkan, we have taken the opportunity of extending our communal observance to eight days on years where Pesach begins and ends with a Shabbat to allow for more communal celebration and observance.This year on Shabbat morning April 27th, we will observe the 8th day of Pesach with the additional Psalms of Praise (Hallel),Yizkor, to

remember loved ones, accompanied by the Mishkan choir, Makhelat Micha’el, Rabbis Phyllis Berman and Arthur Waskow, and Ethan Soloway, currently completing a year of study towards his confirmation.

Sunday,April 28, I will accompany our teens on a tour of Jewish Philly in the morning and joining that afternoon in the 16th annual Interfaith Peace Walk, which Lance Laver and other Mishkan Shalom members helped found and co-lead.This is a perfect bookend to the message of freedom and spring’s rebirth that Pesach offers us, especially in light of recent violent hate crimes against members of the Jewish and Muslim communities world-wide.

I look forward to seeing you at Mishkan Shalom for one or many of the services, programs and actions in the month ahead. In a renewed spirit of opening our tables, homes and hearts to all this Passover, I offer you an alternative take on the moment in our Passover Seder where we historically called out from a place of persecution for God’s Power to intervene. It is timely to replace this part of the Haggadah with one where we call out from a place of love and hope to build the society and world we strive for:

The following remarkable passage, which is quoted in the Haggadah entitled A Different Night, by Noam Zion and David Dishon, is said to have first appeared in a medieval (1521) Ashkenazi Haggadah from Worms. This inclusion may have been since there is known to have been close contact at that time between Jewish and Christian mystics and a sharing of mystical traditions.

Pour out Your love on the nations that know You And on the kingdoms that call upon Your Name

For the loving-kindness that they perform with Jacob And their defense of the People of Israel

In the face of those that would devour them.

May they be privileged to see The Sukkah of peace spread for Your chosen ones And rejoice in the joy of Your nations.

I pray each of you finds new meaning, joy and deepened connections with those who gather with you for our annual pilgrimage out of the narrow places, even as we rekindle our commitment to the liberation of all people and the planet.






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