Passover Shabbat Message
by Rabbi Shari Chen

This year, for the first time in over 25 years, I will not be celebrating Passover at Congregation Bene Shalom with my cherished friend, Rabbi Dr. Douglas Goldhamer. Rabbi Douglas loved our Passover celebrations – from the recitation of the 10 plagues, using a bag of 10 stuffed toys to recreate the plagues, to negotiating for the Afikomen, to singing and signing “Let My People Go.” His favorite part of the seder though was when we welcomed in the stranger, the person who was in need.

Many years ago, at one of our religious school seders, just as Rabbi Douglas was speaking about how we should help the stranger, a homeless man whom the Rabbi had helped in the past appeared at the door to our synagogue. Rabbi instantly asked everyone there to give what they could to help this man, as well as inviting him to join our seder.

Sadly, Rabbi Goldhamer passed away on February 3rd of this year. He was a true tzaddik. He was generous, he was caring, he was a true mensch in every sense of the word! What Rabbi valued more than anything else in the world, though, was Kindness. On Sunday, May 1st we will be remembering and honoring Rabbi Goldhamer with “Kindness Day.” We hope you can join us by Zoom on that day to celebrate him, and his extraordinary life.

Passover celebrates not only freedom, but also hope and renewal. It is a time to remember that we must “…be kind to the stranger” because we too were strangers in a strange land. On this Passover, I ask you to remember to be kind to be others, to pray for not only “freedom” but for peace for everyone in this world.

May you and everyone you cherish have a happy, healthy SAFE holiday!

Shabbat Shalom & Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Shari Chen