Dear RTPV Community,
During our Passover seder each year, we recount the story of our slavery in Egypt and our journey to freedom as a new nation.
In his 1941 State of the Union Address, Franklin D Roosevelt talked about the four freedoms that are the right of every individual: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear. The last one, freedom from fear, strikes a particularly sensitive chord in light of recent events.
We have been struck by how so many of our young people have organized and marched, articulating their frustration over the fear that they experience in school on a daily basis. They regularly take part in lockdown drills, because too many of them have seen classmates shot at or killed in front of their eyes. They have been traumatized. Our youth are angry and feel terribly let down by the adults whom they have trusted to look out for their best interests – specifically legislators who have the power to enact the laws that would protect them. By not exercising their power, our leaders force our youth to live in fear. It is a type of oppression, and not unlike how slaves are made to feel.
Even our youngest children have not been spared. We both remember participating in air-raid drills when we were in elementary school, without fully understanding what they were for. Today, our children, kindergarten age and younger, know exactly what these lockdown drills are for.
No one can know true freedom until they can live free from fear. We pray that on this Passover holiday, as we celebrate our freedom from slavery, we will be inspired to speak out and stand up on behalf of all in our society who live in fear of gun violence. May we know the freedom of a safe environment – for ourselves and for our children – bim-heirah b’yameinu, speedily and in our day. Amen.
Wishing you and your family a joyous and meaningful holiday.
Rabbis Altarescu and Levy