Tag Archives: Pesach

Four Questions, Four Actions

Click here to download our Seder Supplement for 2017/5777, featuring action items and Boston-specific stories about immigrants and refugees.


With Passover just over a week away, and many of us already deep into preparations, I ask you to pause with me for just a moment, as we acknowledge some remarkable community-wide efforts addressing issues deeply resonant of themes of the Festival of Freedom.

As you may have read in today’s Boston Globe, CJP - Combined Jewish Philanthropies is teaming up with Catholic Charities of Boston to fund legal services for immigrants in a powerful display of interfaith cooperation in this challenging time. I’m particularly proud that JCRC Board President Adam Suttin is taking the lead amongst donors to the fund. As Adam says in this Boston Globe piece today: "He sees aiding today’s newcomers as a matter of “basic human rights, civil rights, and Jewish values.”

“We were once strangers in this land,” he said. “We have to remember that and provide opportunities for others to enjoy the benefits of this country.”

This new fund is the latest action step in a multi-pronged collective agenda in which our local Jewish community is standing in solidarity with immigrants and refugees. I’m delighted to share more about our actions – those we’ve taken so far, and those we invite you to join us on in the future – which are featured in JCRC’s Seder Supplement for 2017/5777: Standing with Immigrants and Refugees (PDF).

We are very proud to be distributing this in partnership with ADL New England, JALSA, Jewish Family Service and JVS.

But how is this Seder Supplement different from all others, you may ask?

This one is specifically about – and for – Boston’s Jewish community.

  • You will read stories that should be roundly and proudly shared, of the actions that Jewish organizations and synagogues members are taking to support and act in solidarity with our foreign born neighbors.
  • You will also read about the profound way in which these issues resonate with our own experience and history as Jews, including the seldom told story of how many of our people found safety in this country, even without legal access or documentation.
  • Finally, and most important, you will learn how you can take critical action now, to breathe new life into our age old commitment to freedom for all people.

Wishing you a joyous and meaningful Passover!

Shabbat Shalom,


Is This Seder Different from All Others?

Those of you who follow me on social media know that over the past week I had the pleasure of attending Passover sedarim hosted by three of our member organizations; AJC, ADL and the Jewish Labor Committee. I Facebooked, Instragrammed and Tweeted from each of them but since many folks aren’t on those platforms, I decided to write about the experience as well.

Here’s a taste of what I wrote:

Excerpted from TheJewishAdvocate.com

Each haggadah took the traditional 10 plagues and added a modern interpretation, whether ADL’s “prejudice, racism and homophobia,” JLC’s “teaching violence, neglect of human needs, and fomenting vice” or AJC’s “antidotes to plagues of our time” including “equality, coexistence and democracy.”

Each reading called upon personal testimony from participants to make the same essential point: that we honor the Passover experience by connecting ourselves to the struggles of our own time and that Jewish memory, rooted in Egypt and Exodus, binds us to all who are strangers, downtrodden, overlooked and ignored in our world today.

I hope you’ll take the time to read my entire column in this week’s The Jewish Advocate.

As most of us prepare to celebrate a seder of our own tonight – whether it’s your first of the season, your fourth, or something in between – I hope you’ll join me in considering a simple idea that sits at the center of JCRC’s work in the public square: that our Jewish experiences, along with our connection to communities around us, shapes our perceptions of the issues our world faces today and enables us to understand what we must do to meet those challenges.

Wishing you a joyous Passover and a meaningful Seder,