By Timna Mekaiten, Community Shlicha
With every month that goes by, I realize more and more that soon I’ll be leaving Rockland for Israel. What a difficult thought, being sad about leaving but also being happy to go back to my family I miss so much – especially this month.
Passover is the holiday that is the hardest for me to celebrate away from home. It symbolizes family gathering, and specifically, who we are as a family more than any other holiday. Maybe it’s because as a child, we used to go to my uncle’s. There would be around 40 people sitting at the tables and there was so much noise and mayhem and fun and talking along with the musical reading of the Hagadah. Maybe it’s because we read the Hagadah in a Yemenite tune and it feels so authentic and “ours.” Maybe it’s because now that I have a bigger immediate family, we hold the Seder at home with my niece and nephews and it feels homey and amazing. Maybe it’s the Yemenite food I love so much or the texts that my dad (the secular Rabbi) brings to the table to discuss. Maybe it’s all of these things and maybe it’s other things too – but to me this holiday means family.
As much as I’ll be happy to celebrate the next set of holidays with my personal family in Israel, I’ll be heartbroken because of celebrating them so far away from you, Rockland, my communal family, my extended family.
As we come closer to Pesach – the holiday of liberation and freedom – we also need to remember that freedom is an ongoing fight in so many places in our world. Even for the Jews when we left Egypt, we were freed but we were walking through the dessert, still searching for the true resting point. It’s never over, not then and especially not now, with so many dark events all around us. The hope for a free world and the fight for one continues. It’s a journey that we all must be a part of, because a free world is a better world, and we are the light unto the nations, we are here to give an example.
Happy Passover everyone, and let’s pray for the liberated world.
— Timna Mekaiten,
Jewish Federation of Rockland County