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All who are hungry…

“Ha Lachma Anya, this is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.  Let all who are hungry come and eat.  Let all who so require come and join in the Pesach meal.  Now, we are here.  Next year, may we be in the Land of Israel.  Now, we are servants.  Next year, may we be free people.”

(Hagadah of Pesach)

Ha-Lachma-AnyaThe famous call to action from Ha Lachma Anya drives the key message of Pesach through each successive generation, building on one seder experience at a time, year after year, for centuries now.  It encapsulates our responsibility to each other, to community, and to the notion of true freedom.

It’s what makes us understand that the seder is something that needs to be experienced not with friends and family alone, but with others in the community who are “hungry”, both literally and figuratively, for a warm home-cooked meal, for the messages and teachings of the Pesach experience in particular and of Judaism in general, and who require the stability and love of family and community to draw them in.

This “hunger” is a hunger that is closer in spirit to the words of Amos the prophet who said (Amos 8:11):

הנה ימים באים, נאום אדוניי יהוה, והשלחתי רעב, בארץ:  לא רעב ללחם, ולא-צמא למים – כי אם-לשמוע, את דברי יהוה

“Behold” says the prophet, “the days are coming, declares the LORD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

When you teach kids in a positive, warm environment, you get a sense of that hunger for learning and thirst for meaning.  We need to make a place at our tables for those who are hungry.  And those who are thirsty for the words of Hashem, our responsibility is to nourish them with the living waters of the Torah, the mayim chaim of Judaism.  A Jewish education is the best thing we can provide for them, so that they will not only know how to satiate their hunger and quench their thirst, but to be able to host seders and welcome in others in the future.

In our community, we are blessed with such beautiful families.  However, there are so many families who want their children to have the gift of a Jewish education and be a part of Richmond Jewish Day School, who work all sorts of jobs and save and scrimp and budget and do their best to try and pay for a private day school education while living in the most expensive province in Canada.  And for many of our families, the ability to pay full fees is not a possibility, let alone be able to put food on the table, find a decent place to rent, or pay bills on time.

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While we are blessed with a strong Federation which helps subsidize our tuition, and we have wonderful supporters and donors, we do need your help.  Our Scholarship Drive, with its goal of $36,000, is underway, and we are so excited to say that we have gotten terrific support so far – we have already raised just over $23,000.  If you have the ability to donate, or volunteer your time to make some calls, we would love to hear from you.  For more information about the Scholarship Drive or to donate, please please contact Marshall Stern at: [email protected].  Let’s all do what we can to make sure that our kids have the opportunity for a great education.

“כל דכפין ייתי ויכל” – Let all who are hungry come and eat.  I’d like to wish you all a Chag Kasher v’Sameach, and have a safe and relaxing break.  We’ll see you all back here on April 20.


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