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Finding Light in the Darkness

03/01/2023 09:53:15 AM

Mar1

Tami Raubvogel, President

How much do you do to get ready for Passover? For me, there is much that goes into the preparation for this holiday. I spend time doing things like cleaning the kitchen, changing the dishes, and selling all the chametz. In addition, I like to reflect on the meaning of Passover, what new lessons I can glean from the Haggadah, and how these lessons may impact my life. There are obvious themes found in the Passover story, like being freed from slavery, or feeling grateful to have a homeland. Recently, though, I have been thinking about the Ten Plagues; specifically, the Plague of Darkness and what it might represent for me right now.

We know the plagues were given in order of severity, and Darkness is number nine. It is second only to death of the firstborn. God decided that Darkness is worse than boils on your skin or locusts eating the crops. This is significant.

Prior to 2019, I had interpreted the Darkness plague as something physical, like a sandstorm or a solar eclipse. However, now, after living through a pandemic, when we were all living in a metaphorical darkness, I wonder if the darkness the Egyptians experienced was rather an isolation; separation from the light and joy we get from being around others. I see this plague in particular as a reminder of how devastating it is to be cut off from others.

Many of us have first-hand knowledge of the loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic. We were, literally, cut off from each other. Not only was there an absence of information but we were also unable to see family and friends face to face. We know now that the reality of the pandemic created paralyzing anxiety and panic, much like how it would feel if we were in complete darkness.

As I have mentioned before, my goal for this year as president is to create meaningful opportunities for engagement. This goes beyond providing interesting programs and activities for people to attend. To me, it means that we make sure no one is left in the dark; no one is cut off from our community and left in isolation.

I was at synagogue a few weeks ago and I saw someone who I have not seen in years. It was her first time at synagogue for a long time and when I asked if she thought about attending an upcoming Sisterhood event, she said she would like to, but she was afraid to go because she doesn’t know anyone anymore. I imagine many of you are familiar with that feeling. The worry that you won’t have someone to talk to or that people will already be in groups with friends is sometimes the tipping point of whether you will attend an event.

This is what I mean when I say we need to make meaningful connections and be sure people are not cut off from our community. How can we, as a CBJ community, find ways to ensure that everyone feels like they are welcome and won’t hesitate to attend an event that they find interesting?

As each of you prepare for your Passover seders, I encourage you to consider our need to create meaningful engagement opportunities and make sure that no one is left in the dark.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784