What makes this night (and this Passover) different?\
At the end of the Seder we proclaim the ancient dream “Next Year in Jerusalem!” This year in Israel, families will gather around the Seder table and engaged in an energized debate over Four New Questions for Israel today.
1. Does a Jewish state need to be democratic?
2. Is national security strengthened or weakened by being a democracy?
3. Must there be checks and balances between branches of government?
4. May a majority do whatever it wants, or does it have an ethical responsibility to minorities such as LGBTQ+ and Reform Jews?
Like the Four Sons of the Hagadah, we have been watching four men in the Israeli government; Prime Minster Netanyahu, Defense Minister Gallant, Security Minister Ben-Gvir, Finance Minister Smotrich debate these questions in live-time before the eyes of the world. With grave concern, President Herzog has warned, “Israel has never been closer to civil war as it is today,” and has called on leaders to “Turn down the temperature.”
This past Sunday, after the Defense Minister was fired by the Prime Minister, over 500,000 Israelis took to the streets in peaceful protests. Yes, there was the beating of drums and singing, but the protesters did not engagd in looting or burning cars, like demonstrators this week in Paris. The number of Israeli protesters would be proportional to 20 million protesters here in the USA. Could you imagine the intensity if 20 million people took to the streets in this country? This past Monday, there was a massive peaceful uprising of the people of Israel. The airports, banks, universities, hospitals, schools, public transport and shopping malls all closed themselves in protest. In anguish people raised their voices and this time were heard by the national leader who acquiesced to pause the legislative blitz till the end of the Passover school vacation.
Perhaps you are feeling like the child “Who does know what question to ask?” I invite you to join me for an update and conversation about Israel this coming Monday night at 7pm-8pm by Zoom.
Passover is about securing a safe future for the people of Israel.
Come join the conversation.
Rabbi David Wilfond