What makes this year different from all other years? Well again, everything.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, z”l, in his commentary of the Haggadah, talks about the Jewish people’s responsibility to have compassion for the weak and vulnerable: “You shall love the stranger, because you know what it feels like to be a stranger. You shall protect and respect one who is different, for you, more than any other people on earth, know what it is to be different.”
Passover teaches us to make the world a more compassionate place.
“Rachamanim b’nai rachamanim”—we are a merciful people descended from people of compassion. This is a valued description of our people going back to our ancestors, Abraham and Sarah, who opened their tent to all those passing by. Their love of strangers and their compassion was the hallmark of the faith they brought to the world.
While we recognize that this year brought unprecedented challenges, it also brought out the best in us, leading us to find new ways to meet those challenges. Because of you, our Jewish community was able to come together in ways we never have before, both here in the Lehigh Valley and as a whole—making this year different from all other years.
Throughout quarantine, social distancing and record unemployment, we were able to stock our food pantry for the hungry and deliver an increased number of meals to vulnerable families and seniors, many of whom have become far more vulnerable due to the pandemic. Your strong support of the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley is making all the difference for someone who does not have enough food to eat or the resources to pay their rent.
Working with our partner agencies, we have been able to:
• Keep our food pantry stocked
• Deliver hot kosher meals
• Help to secure no-interest emergency loans
• Maintain high-quality Jewish education and programming for our children
• Connect young families to virtual Jewish-themed activities
• Provide access to mental health support for those suffering from severe anxiety due to isolation and stress
• Assist community members with tech support to connect to our online platforms
It is also because of compassionate people like you that during this time, we’ve been able to offer innovative programming that provides meaningful connection and involvement. All virtually!
And while doing all of this and more, we continue to connect with our extended family, and to help our brothers and sisters in need in Israel and around the world.
In other years, we’ve gathered around the seder table with family and friends. Last year, we gathered around separate seder tables, sharing the holiday virtually.
Last Passover, we were facing a year of uncertainty and loss. This Passover, we rely on the power and strength of our Jewish community—the power and strength that are needed now more than ever.
Let’s make this year one of healing for all so that one day soon, we will all enjoy the spring of renewal together.
Wishing you and your family a healthy, happy, and safe Passover. Chag Sameach, a zissen Pesach!