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We face the same challenge. Passover teaches us not that we need to always escape but that we need to face our real problems and find real solutions. Perhaps this time we need to stay to fight for a better Europe.

Lessons from the Central American Exodus for Global Migration Governance

But that is only possible when we face our real problems. Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland. This year I feel we have developed a new and perhaps surprising approach to the idea of Exodus. Escaping oppression in Egypt remains our defining national narrative, but in the last few months, European Jews have proudly resisted voices telling us to pack our bags and leave for Israel.

Exodus Lesson Plan

When Jews were murdered in Paris and Copenhagen, we were faced with the grim reality of having to review our safety in 21st century Europe. But Jews have put down the firmest roots in post-war Europe. Jewish life flourishes and thrives here. We recognise those attacks were not directed at Jews alone, but European democracy as a whole, precisely because of our essential role within it. If the support and solidarity Jews received from each other, different faiths and the general public in the aftermath of those tragedies tell us anything, this Pesach, whilst remembering one exodus, we know we will not be embarking upon another.

For us, the Jewish people living in 21st-century Europe, this story brilliantly explains our ups and downs throughout history. These rules, first stated three thousand years ago, are still capable of moving us today, even though we sometimes forget their origin in the story of the exodus. Beyond them, there are laws whose simple purpose is to remind us of what it feels like to be free, none more so than the institution of the Sabbath. One day in every seven, no one was allowed to work or force anyone else to work.

Everyone - servants, employees, even animals - was given a taste of absolute freedom. It is hard to overestimate what this did to keep the spirit of Jews alive. My grandparents came to Britain a century ago from Poland.

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They arrived in London's East End with nothing. They knew no English. They had no skills. They found themselves in the heart of London's poorest district, strangers in a strange land. I sometimes wonder how they and their many neighbours kept alive the burning hope that one day things would be different. But in my heart of hearts, I know it was the Sabbath that was their inner strength.

From Slavery to Freedom: The Meaning of Passover

However desperate things had been during the week, that day they would set the table with a shining white cloth and light the candles in their silver candlesticks and relax as if they were guests at God's own banquet. The Sabbath preserved their dignity and kept them from being crushed by the burdens life had loaded on their frail shoulders.

The Sabbath - and Pesach itself with its declaration that, "This year we may be slaves, but next year we will be free. One of Judaism's most powerful messages is that redemption is of this world , and every time we help the poor to escape from poverty, or give the homeless a home, or cause the unheeded to be heard, we bring God's kingdom one step closer. The best way never to forget this message is every year to eat the bread of affliction and taste the bitter herbs so that we never forget what it is like to be unfree.

You were once strangers in the land of Egypt. Mah nishtanah halaylah hazeh mikol haleylot - "Why is this night different from all other nights? If I strain my memory I can still see my grandparents' dining table with all the uncles and aunts and cousins gathered round on those Passover nights in Seven Sisters Road in London many years ago. Pesach was the great family gathering and all very daunting to me, the youngest, three or four years old. But I quickly learned that it is in fact the youngest who has the best lines: the four questions with which the whole service begins.

Why is this night different? Why the unleavened bread and bitter herbs? Why do we dip the vegetables and why lean when we drink the wine? The answers came much later in the evening. But meanwhile there was much to keep a young child awake. My favourite part came when my grandfather broke the middle matzah in two and gave me one half to hide until the end of the meal. This kept me in a state of pleasant suspense for several hours because I knew that when the time came for us to eat the broken matzah , custom decreed that the adults would put on a show of searching for it, they would fail, and I would then be entitled to a present in return for disclosing its whereabouts.

It was an elaborate charade, but it worked. And then there were the rousing songs with which the evening ended, usually after midnight. The last one was my favourite, the one about the young goat that father bought, which got eaten by a cat, which was eaten by a dog, which got hit by a stick, which got burned by a fire, and so on in a manic crescendo until in the last verse God Himself came and defeated the angel of death. Mortality duly vanquished, we could go to bed.

Judaism has always had a genius for attracting the interest of a child, never more so than on Passover night. Nor is this accidental, because if you turn to the book of Exodus, you find that on the brink of Israel's liberation Moses repeatedly speaks to the people about children and how, in generations to come, they should be taught the significance of that event. Only slowly did I come to understand why. Freedom is not born overnight; it needs patience and training and carefully acquired skills.

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  • It needs an education in freedom. Without it, a society can all too quickly lapse into chaos or conflict, rivalry and war. The Israelites of Moses's day were unprepared for liberty, and the Bible faithfully records their quarrels and disorders. It took a new generation to be ready to cross the Jordan and enter the promised land. But it took forty years to get Egypt out of the Israelites.

    That is why on Pesach we begin with the youngest child, as if to say to him or her: this is what affliction tastes like, and here, by contrast, is the wine of our hard-earned freedom. This is the heritage of our historical experience, and tonight we begin to hand it on to you.

    Exodus: Called to Freedom |

    No less importantly, the first lesson we teach our children is how to ask questions. Religious faith is not uncritical. It does not only ask us to take things on trust. It encourages us to look at the world, and ask, why are things as they are?

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      Can you defend Jesus' logic? I would have responded that this was not work. Following the logic Jesus used, the lady was set free on the Sabbath. Read Mark Jesus' says that King David set an example of violating the law. David also committed adultery and murder! Is that also acceptable? Are David's unlawful actions a reasonable defense? I don't think Jesus is telling us to act like King David. Rather, He is making a more sophisticated argument. He points to a balance between human needs and the Sabbath.