Happy Pesach! (Or for those that are new to the Jewish tradition, Happy Passover!)
Passover is the annual remembrance of the Israelite exodus from Egypt in which the story is retold through tradition, ritual, and meals that continue over the course of a week. While this time of year is more often associated with easter eggs and pastel colors, Passover reflects on the strong sense of community the Israelites needed to escape oppression.
For me, Passover reminds me of seders at my grandparents, matzo ball soup on the stove, time with my family, and the passing down of traditions and history – with a moment of thanks where we are reminded of the sacrifice others have paid for our freedom today.
The story of the Exodus is characterized by the divine anger towards Egypt – especially through the plagues. But there is beauty in the call to Moses to save his people, and the unifying and powerful response to what was a traumatic life in ancient Egypt. In our everyday lives it can be hard to see the good in the bad, or the sun through dark wintry clouds – but Passover reminds us that it is not only our responsibility to take an active role in serving our communities, but that it is important to remember the needs of those communities that called us to serve.
More important, Passover reminds us at NECHAMA (especially our hard working teams on the ground) we are devoted to repairing roofs, clearing debris, removing trees, and using our physical bodies to help people get their homes and lives back after natural events because they have to do all of the emotional work themselves. Before any of our homeowners can get to a place where they can have a Passover seder in their own kitchens, they have to have a repaired home and a renewed heart to bear the weight of remembering a trauma.
We at NECHAMA work every day to ensure that our entire NECHAMA community is inspired to join together and work towards better days. The Israelites suffered through it, the Jewish community remembers it yearly, and NECHAMA enacts the lessons learned from the Exodus story every day.
The work we do is made possible through your donations, large and small. Whether your gift makes it possible for us to buy a hammer to muck and gut a home, buy meals for our hard working volunteers, or to fund the work an an entire home – every donation matters, every dollar counts.
We hope that one day every natural disaster we respond to will become only a remembrance of a unified community and healed hearts, and that whether or not your weekend includes Passover festivities, you can take a moment to reflect on your own emotional journeys.
The Israelites were forced to wander the desert for forty years, but their sense of community and the yearning for better days should remind us all that healing is a process – and one that nobody has to go through alone.
Wishing you all a joyous Passover (chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach)!