Freedom looks different this year. A shot in the arm is giving us the freedom we need to get back to normal, but our normal looks so different. When the Jews wandered in the desert, did they wonder how their new normal would look? Was leaving Egypt anything like leaving COVID?
Times change, and as they do we can have a voice in choosing how we adapt. We may have experienced loneliness, trepidation and silence, but we can now choose to fill the emptiness with new purposes and experiences. We named our new Puggle puppy Mazel. She not only filled our home with love, but also a new schedule that required more exercise. Online study groups kept us in touch with friends while learning and sharing classes taught by Jewish educators. A driveway yogurt party allowed us to invite neighbors who remained socially distanced while catching up with each other. And we enjoyed grandchildren who we could see and laugh with, but not hug.
We have missed so much, so many special times, and so many special people this year. But hopefully the emptiness that we experienced has taught us to now begin to express our appreciation for those beautiful people and those special times that we hold so dear.
As we look forward to Passover, we can’t plan on hosting a crowd, and we must avoid sharing food off our plates. But the holiday this year will be a vivid reminder of two journeys through unknown territory and the importance of the choices we are now free to make that leave valuable and loving memories during this time.
As the Jews wandered in the desert, there were stories of miraculous events and survival. Passover stories bring meaning and understanding about the freedom of not only our past journey, but also of the journey ahead of us now.
Susanne Katz is an AJT contributor.