As Passover approaches and I define what freedom means to me, it certainly hits home. The freedom to be with family and friends has been something I have longed for and dearly missed. While our seder table has changed over the years as has our world, the freedom to gather reminds me of the preciousness of loved ones. Our choices and the exodus we have all gone through towards a healthy, happy life has been and still is quite a journey.
Last year, our seder was made possible by Zoom technology. This year, news has arrived just in time, as we are told we can gather in small groups following important CDC guidelines.
When the AJT staff was asked to write about what freedom means to us, I reflected on how fortunate we are thanks to modern medicine. How blessed we are to have frontline workers, professionals and service providers risking their lives to keep us safe. I thought about what President Biden said in his address to the nation. And yes, we have all missed a lot of moments and it is time to return to those small, shared experiences that keep us connected.
From celebrating weddings, welcoming births, anniversaries, birthdays, to honoring our beloved and departed, may we soon have the freedom to carry on our traditions. I pray for the freedom to return to the moments that make life worthwhile. I pray our nation, families and neighbors stay cautious and careful. Let the surge we hear about only be one of joy and togetherness, versus the emergence and monopolization of new variants. Let our new normal inspire us to define a better life with less chaos, challenges and stress.
As the flood gates are slowly opening, let us also not forget our actions, behaviors, and may they be respectful so we each contribute to the well-being of the greater good of humanity. When I think of the word freedom in the traditional sense, it is the right to go forward, to do what we want. Some of us have done well being told what to do, while others not so much. This year more than any other, we have had the opportunity to decide what our best lives will look like. We have learned how to reveal the truest part of ourselves to live a fuller, happier, healthier life behind closed doors while still reaching out and caring about each other. May we continue to emerge with more compassion and less suffering for all.
Our friend Fred Katz signs all his emails with a poignant quote worthy of sharing: “Life is not just about weathering the storm but learning how to dance in the rain.” While we cannot predict the weather or life’s storms, it is how we respond that ultimately matters. Although we are not always free to control what swirls around us, we are free to choose wisely how we will live out our days building, strengthening and deepening the bonds between us.
As Passover approaches, I hope I continue to make wise, loving choices and never take freedom for granted. As the sounds of freedom arrive with waves of wonderment and awe, may we all continue to learn how to roll with the tides, go with the flow and dance in the rain, even when no one is watching.
Robyn Spizman Gerson is an AJT contributor.