Tonight begins the Jewish festival of Passover. Like all festivals, it is a time to rejoice and celebrate. This festival, though, is also a time to tell the story of how we were once slaves in Egypt and now a free people.

Passover teaches one of the most important lessons in Jewish tradition: Anyone, at any time, could be a stranger–someone not quite at home, not quite settled, and perhaps even oppressed. Therefore, the Torah teaches us to love the stranger as ourselves, for we were once slaves in Egypt. Even when a person seems like a stranger and different, either because of language, national origin, religion, or whatever else, we are reminded of our shared humanity and that all people are created in God’s image. What we have in common as people is greater and more important than what separates us. Our job is to look for and emphasise that shared humanity and work towards a world that no longer knows the difficulties that we knew when we were strangers in Egypt.

May our Passover be joyous and meaningful.

Chag Sameach, Happy Passover,

Rabbi Jason Holtz