A Pesach Message from our CEO

We see signs of hope these days. Infection rates are down--we pray they will continue to decline and remain low--and vaccination numbers are up. With our deepest prayers and gratitude, we seem to be closer to the end than the beginning of this awful pandemic.

Like Dor HaMidbar, the generation of Israelites who left slavery in Egypt to wander in the desert, we can look back to where we have been and ahead to what’s to come. As the Haggadah suggests, we all feel as if we have taken steps out of our narrow places, our own Mitzrayim/Egypt. 

Our schools are resilient, even in the most challenging circumstances, and our children have made progress this year in so many ways, whether in front of a screen or in a socially distanced classroom, thanks to the incredible efforts of educators everywhere. 

We see the next stage ahead—finishing this year strong, enjoying a more calm and reflective summer, and the prospect of an exciting next school year. Yet, while we are filled with hopes and plans alongside the sadness for all that has been lost, there is still much we do not know.

How will we learn what it means to thrive in a new reality? Like the Israelites, will we send scouts to see what lies ahead? Will the reports be accurate and the messengers trustworthy? Where we are headed is not where we have been before. We are not who we were before. We have many questions to add to this year’s Seder. 

The Israelites who left Eretz Yisrael with Joseph and his brothers were refugees; the freed people and their descendants who “return” have been changed by the experience of slavery, Exodus and Sinai. Even as they build new lives and a new society, they are charged to consider how their history will be woven into the fabric of the world they are creating. 

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks z”l wrote about the Exodus narrative as an expression of hope--of both divine intervention and self-determination. “A people can be granted freedom by an external cause, in this case divine intervention. But a people sustain freedom by their own efforts. It is not what God does for us, but what we do for God, that changes us.”

As we gather around our Seder tables, perhaps with a few more place settings this year compared to a year ago, but likely still far from what we hope for in the future, may we mark this moment in time--this transition from where we have been to where we are headed—strengthened by the hope that even amidst so much uncertainty, we possess the means to sustain a vibrant future for our schools, our families, our communities and our people.