April marks the end of nearly two months of Violins of Hope programming. I am proud that federation supported this important project spearheaded by two amazing leaders and supporters of Federation, Julee Landau Shahon and Rachel Hoffer. I continue to be deeply moved by the collaborative spirit of the 30 organizations, both Jewish and non-Jewish, that worked so beautifully together to touch the lives of 23,000 students and 40,000 individuals throughout Arizona. The 72 instruments from the Holocaust taught all of us the lessons of embracing differences, valuing others and of being upstanders rather than bystanders. These lessons are critical to moving our community in the Valley to becoming a community second to none. I am also grateful for the many new friends I have met among the leaders from other religious communities and the arts.
This month, we also celebrate Passover, or Pesach, commemorating the final night before the Israelites fled bondage in Egypt when the final plague passed over their houses. We as Jews observe the weeklong festival with a number of important rituals, including a traditional Passover seder. In fact, many families have seders on both the evening before the first day of Passover as well as the first night of Passover. What truly makes Passover so special is how it is both traditional – we read the same story that our ancestors have been reciting for millennia and partake of the Passover plate — and personal, incorporating our own interpretations and interests into the timeless tale of the Exodus. All those around the seder table, Jews and non-Jews who have chosen to participate, are there because they care about each other, our shared history, and more importantly, our future.
Wishing you a happy and healthy Passover and I hope that you will consider adding a new friend to your seder table.
Marty Haberer is CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.