Tonight, my family celebrated our freedom with a Passover seder.
Every year at this time, Jews around the world thank God for being personally liberated from slavery. It’s a biblical story, but, according to Jewish teachings, that liberation still belongs to every one of us on an individual level, now, in this moment.
That’s the guidance offered to us by our religious tradition, and I deeply appreciate the reminder of the abundant blessings of my own daily life.
Without a doubt, in 2022, my family bowed our heads with specific thanks for the wisdom shown by my father-in-law way back in the 1970’s when he brought his wife, child, and mother-in-law out of bondage from the Soviet Union to the U.S.A.
He had no idea what to expect when he got there, but he trusted in the expansive nature of the big ideas in the “great works” of European literature that he’d read (illicitly, since they were illegal in Russia) to imply that something better existed outside the narrow intellectual constraints of 20th Century Soviet communism.
I daresay he’d say he was right to follow those instincts. I’m in total agreement.
Tonight, we prayed for those who live with less freedom than we are privileged to have. We thanked God for the exodus of DH, his parents, and his grandmother from the U.S.S.R., to the U.S.A., by way of a European refugee camp.
Parallels to today’s crisis in Ukraine are not lost on us. We bow our heads to those still suffering. We look at our beautiful children and acknowledge how easily they could have been born there instead of here; in servitude instead of free.
We are warm and safe and free to worship—or not—as we choose. What a wonder! What a privilege.
Generous sponsors in Europe and the U.S.A. helped bring my husband and his family forth from oppression to independence many years ago. The world must take similar steps to ease the way for Ukrainians fleeing Russian aggression today.
Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” My father-in-law said something similar, via his actions, to Brezhnev.
Now, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy is saying the same to would-be Czar Putin, the killer of children, bomber of innocents. It behooves every lover of liberty, democracy, and personal freedom to support Ukraine in this effort.
Chag sameach! Happy Holiday!