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Four Letters for Passover 5781

03/23/2021 04:14:00 PM

Mar23

Dear OrH Family,
 
It’s only a few days before Passover, so I won’t take up too much of your time with a long missive. In the spirit of the four questions and the four cups, I did however, want to share with you four letters, including this one, which I hope you will make time to read.
 
You see, while some of you are busy preparing for Passover in the ways that you always do, or in the ways you are discovering, some of you are bearing an additional burden. I’m not referring to the challenges of facing a second year of experiencing seders around a much smaller table or via a screen – these are challenging us all.
 
However, while preparing to celebrate freedom and redemption, some in our community and in the Jewish community at large will still be facing discrimination, exclusion, questioning of identity, and the many other harms that come from the stereotyping and biases directed at Jews of colour, Jews of Asian descent, Jews of mixed heritage. Entering this year’s seder week, not only are those burdens still being carried, but they are weighted down this year with the sustained onslaught of racially motivated violence in the United States and in Canada.
 
This past week’s horrible shooting from Atlanta heightened an already terrible environment for people of Asian descent, though these acts of hate are rooted in a systemic racism that precedes the onset of the pandemic in 2020. We need to also grapple with the truth that #StopAsianHate, like #BlackLivesMatter, are hashtags we need to look at closely within our community, not just out on the streets.
 
So I’ll leave you with links to the three other letters, this open letter from Black Jews, non-Black Jews of Color, and allies in Canada, this one from a young Asian American Jewish woman in the United States, and a collection of nine short notes from Asian Jews collected together by Rabbi Mira Rivera.   
 
My wish for all of us is that this Passover be a celebration of redemption and liberation for kol yoshvey tevel – all who dwell on earth.
 
Warmly,
 
Rabbi Liz

Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyar 5781