April 7, 2023

Moadim L’simcha! I hope your Passover S’darim were filled with joy and opportunities to reflect on the importance of bringing about freedom for all those who suffer and are oppressed. Passover invites us to stand up and remember Moses’ power as he approached Pharaoh with a bit of fear and trepidation saying, “Let my people go!” As we reflect on the lessons and messages of the holiday, we remember the work that we must do to help the people in our community stand up against injustice and what we have to do to bring about freedom for all.

There are far too many people in our community who are suffering. Some struggle to find an affordable place to live. Every day we see stories in the news, about more and more gun violence. Far too many students in Columbus city schools face out of school suspensions when restorative justice practices would keep them in school; and having access to an ID card would enable people to access the services they desperately need to survive. There are many neighborhoods in Columbus that do not have adequate tree cover causing temperatures to be hotter, more flooding, and higher instances of asthma. Working to assure there is adequate tree cover – a seemingly simple act – can make a tremendous amount of difference in people’s lives.

Every year an interfaith community gathers on one night to seek justice. We call upon our elected officials and those with power to solve community problems to act. This evening is called the Nehemiah Action and is coordinated by BREAD, an organization devoted to making our community better and pursuing justice. BREAD spends many hours researching proven methods of solving these problems and presents them to public officials. We share the thoughts with them well in advance of the meetings and ask them to respond to the needs of the people.

BREAD represents the largest gathering of people seeking to improve our community in the entire area. We need you to come to the Celeste Center Fair Grounds on Tuesday evening April 25 at 6:40 pm to bear witness to the asks and to show that we care deeply about solving community problems. I hope you will join me there.

If you have yet to receive a personal invitation, consider this note your invitation to join me that evening. I will have a ticket for you. Please reply and let me know that you want to attend.

At my seder, the piece that struck me was inviting in Elijah who brings us hope for a better world. We asked when will the world get better? And answered that we do not know. We will discover the answer much sooner when we show up and do the work that needs to be done to make it happen. I hope you will join me in fulfilling Elijah’s wish of making the world a better place.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Rick Kellner