A Reading Before the Lighting of the Festival Candles
The seder is not a story of our past, it is our present. Sadly, the reality of the oppressed stranger
was not left behind with the Exodus from Egypt. We see that soul each and every day:
The refugee fleeing persecution in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in countless other countries. 34,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes each and every day.
The person seeking asylum in our city who fears deportation to a home country filled with gangs that have threatened their lives. In 2016, there were 620,000 pending removal and asylum cases before our US immigration courts.
There are 11 million undocumented citizens living in fear in the US today.
We think about the African American parent who is not a stranger but treated as such worried about whether their young adult men will survive.
There are rising “isms” of every type.
The seder remembers the past – the ancient past, the years past, the months past, the days past. And the seder looks forward.
As we kindle the Passover candles, may we commit ourselves to bringing light and being light, to asking hard questions that open minds, doors, and hearts – not just at this table but at every table.
May the light of these candles and the brightness of this seder and of seders now happening worldwide
enable us to find the best path forward for the stranger, for the global citizen, for each one of us.