The Passover season is well and truly on us. We’re preparing our homes for the festival of freedom, with its special foods and elaborate rituals, one of the oldest religious rituals in the world, and one of Judaism’s most sacred moments. What’s special is that it’s observed not in the synagogue but at home, around the table, as a family. The starring part is always taken by the youngest child, and their role is to ask questions.
And if there’s one element of Judaism I’d love to share with everyone it’s this: If you want to survive and thrive as a people, a culture, a civilization, celebrate the family. Hold it sacred. Eat together. Tell the story of what most matters to you across the generations. Make children the most important people. Put them centre stage. Encourage them to ask questions, the more the better. That’s what Moses said thirty three centuries ago and Judaism is still here to tell the tale having survived some of the most brutal persecutions in human history, yet as a religious faith still young and full of energy…And then I began to think of the many Palestinian Christian families who are unable to meet, celebrate and share together in the way the Chief Rabbi encourages. Palestinian Christians, along with other Palestinians, are inhibited by a security wall and security regulations which cut communities off from each other, divide families and friends and separate many Christians from their cathedrals and other holy sites. I would like to ask the Chief Rabbi how these people are being encouraged to celebrate as families and encouraged to thrive as a people, a culture and a civilization?