A Pesach message from Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg and our Chairs

By Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg 06th Apr 2022

I wish everyone in our communities and all our friends Chag Sameach. I hope the coming year takes us and the whole of humanity further on our winding, complicated journey towards freedom and redemption.

Two years ago, near the beginning of the first lockdown, instead of the usual huge gathering of family and friends for the Seder in our house, just two of us sat down together. That’s how it was in every home. In fact, we were lucky that we were two. I’m aware that there has been much loss, sorrow and loneliness over these past 24 months.

Last year, we were up to six, but still without the long tables and the many tales of personal journeys in search of inner and outer freedom which we would always weave into the Haggadah.

Hopefully this year we can celebrate zeman cherutenu, the season of our liberation, in far greater freedom, though still with appropriate care.

The story of the Exodus, encapsulated in the phrase mei’avdut lecheirut, from slavery to freedom, embodies Judaism’s enduring protest against tyranny and cruelty. Out of the experience of injustice we assert the overriding value of justice; from being treated inhumanely we affirm the importance of dignity; from being subject to cruelty, we determine to live with kindness and compassion; from being forced to conform to the harsh decrees of tyranny, we declare our allegiance to God and truth alone.

As – hopefully – we come together again in stronger numbers this Pesach, may our commitment to live by Judaism’s creed be strengthened too. May we sing the words of the Hallel in full voice: ‘ethalech be’artsot hachaim, I shall walk before God in the lands of life.’

Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg

It is with joy that we see our synagogues reopening, putting on events and gathering people together in person once again. Community is at the centre of Masorti Judaism and we continue to embrace our purpose of developing flourishing communities, rooted in traditional practice and modern values, with an aspiration to be inclusive and empowering.

Along with the professional team, over the past year, the Masorti Judaism Trustee Board has taken the opportunity to reflect and make plans for the strategic direction of the organisation. As trustees, we very much want to develop relationships with all those that make up the Masorti Judaism movement. We will be reaching out to make connections and to get to know our communities better. A primary objective for the next few years is to focus on community, to build strong links and hopefully deep friendships, so that we can work together to build a bright future for Masorti Judaism in the UK.

We continue to be inspired by younger members of our movement. With the employment of a Noam Alumni Network Coordinator, we are re-connecting with those who graduated from Noam, many of whom attribute who they are today to their experiences in Noam. We are excited to share that Summer Camp places are filling up quickly and we have every expectation that Noam will be running Israel Tour this year. Combined with support for young people at university, and those finding their feet in the adult world through Marom, we are confident in the future of our communities and the Masorti Movement.

As Co-chairs of Masorti Judaism we would like to wish you and your families Chag Pesach Sameach and hope that you will both support and benefit from our new endeavours.

Leonie Fleischmann and Moira Hart

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