Who could have imagined back in 2010 that my experience of being alone for Passover might, because of a world-wide pandemic, be shared by thousands if not millions of Jews around the world in 2021?

The Hebrew’s journey of slavery, longing for freedom, facing Pharaoh’s oppression, facing physical obstacles and collective fears, and our ultimate liberation, has resonated and inspired people all over the globe. Our Jewish teachings inform us that G-d commands us to re-experience this coming out of Egypt as a personal and present journey each and every year. The Haggadah (order of the Seder) is constructed to pass on this teaching to our children. When asked why we abstain from and observe certain practices during the Passover Holy Days, and why we repeat the story of Exodus over and over again, parents respond “Because of that which YHWH did for me when I went out of Egypt,” emphasizing the “me,” and thereby personalizing the experience for ourselves and our children.  

Currently, the Black Lives Matter, Me Too, LGBTQIA movements, the plight of immigrants and other struggles for freedom around the globe, remind us of the importance of learning about, having empathy for and taking personal responsibility for the oppression of others. This consciousness requires that we take action on behalf of all oppressed people.

We, as Jews, have a responsibility for tikkun olam, to repair or mend the world. Although we can never truly know the depth of another’s experience, it is incumbent upon us identify with that experience, to take actions not to perpetuate suffering, and to do our part to actively alleviate that suffering, because no one is free until we all are free.

This commitment for repair is shared by People of Faith and by the concepts of humanitarianism and many other teachings. But how do we tap into empathy? How do we personalize another’s experience? This question is answered by the now famous poem written in 1895 by Mary T. Lathrap, an American poet, preacher in the Methodist Episcopal Church, temperance reformer, and suffragist, entitled, “Judge Softly” or “Walk a Mile in His Moccasins”:

Just walk a mile in his moccasins
Before you abuse, criticize and accuse.
If just for one hour, you could find a way
To see through his eyes, instead of your own muse


I offer, here, a glimpse into my personal Passover story — my walk towards freedom — I hope it will inspire yours.

Que Será, Será website: https://punjabbed.wixsite.com/queserasera
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https://artistsoulspeaks.wordpress.com

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