Passover is a celebration of spring, of birth and rebirth, of a journey from slavery to freedom, and of taking responsibility for yourself, the community, and the world.

On Passover, all Jews are encouraged to direct their thoughts toward the source of Jewish identity and the centrality of the Land of Israel and Jerusalem in Jewish life, as highlighted throughout the text of the Haggadah, which actually closes with the prayer to return next year to a rebuilt Jerusalem. It also encourages us to reinforce our commitment to maintaining a stable and secure Jewish state for ourselves and future generations.

Passover also carries a universal message of freedom for all, from the ravage of war, from starvation and famine from all sorts of oppresion. It’s a message of social justice – of doing the right thing, to one another, for one another, for mankind

This is a Passover card from ORT Cuba (courtesy of Jacob Kincler) that the tiny Jewish Cuban community sends around the world.  The unity of the Jewish People for thousands of years is remarkable.  That a community such as theirs, in Cuba, continues to celebrate freedom, isn’t ironic at all.  It is typical of Jewish communities everywhere, even for those who rights and liberties pale in comparison to ours here in Canada.

Years ago I served as chair of the Cuban Jewry Task force at Canadian Jewish Congress.  Their community relies upon Canadian Jews, as well as those in Mexico, Venezuela and elsewhere to maintain their Jewish lifeline.  Their determination and resilience should serve as an inspiration to all. This is most meaningful to my family, having visited the Cuban Jewish community just weeks ago.

Passover is also a special holiday for the entire Nashen (Nachshen) Family as the namesake of our clan, Nachshon Ben Aminadav, a Prince of the Tribe of Judah, was the first to enter the waters during the Splitting of the Red Sea.

From my family to yours, Happy Passover. May you find freedom in your lives and your community and may it spread to all people around the world. Chag Sameach.