Rabbi Kerry Olitzky, JOI’s executive director, wrote several beautiful pieces for the spring issue of The Orchard, a publication of the Jewish Federations of North America Rabbinic Cabinet. The first piece explains why weekly Torah readings are suspended for Passover and why the biblical Song of Songs is read and studied:
The inclusion of the Song of Songs allows us to participate in both the collective experience of the journey, while understanding that our collective experience reflects the sum total of all of our individual journeys. While the people traveled together in the desert, few of our personal journeys follow the same paths. But the Passover experience teaches us that there is room for all of our individual journeys. That is part of the inclusive nature of the Passover experience. And perhaps why so many among the Jewish community-and beyond-see the universal message of Passover as something that speaks to them.
The second piece is entitled, Welcoming the Stranger in our Midst. He reminds us that Jewish sacred tradition directs us to welcome “strangers” in our midst because we understand what it was like to be strangers when we were scattered to all the nations of the world. That, to us, is one of the most important messages in the Passover holiday.
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