A Passover Message from Terri Bonoff

A Passover Message from Terri Bonoff

For our Passover holiday issue, we invited members of our community to share their responses.

Terri Bonoff
Terri Bonoff

Approaching Passover knowing that the hostages are in captivity, families are ripped apart and so many loved ones have been lost, makes this year’s holiday different and more painful than any I have faced in my lifetime. One of my guiding principles is the importance of and the power that comes from uniting and standing together in good times and in bad. I wear the necklace that has, “Bring them home,” written in both Hebrew and English, finding comfort in seeing that same necklace or other symbols that reflect this similar intent worn by members of the Jewish community.

It’s as if we are part of an order, or a club–a club with a unique shared history whose members have been vilified by the world and whose struggle to protect, defend and obtain justice endures against all odds. I find comfort in leading JF&CS, a faith-based agency, knowing we are guided by Jewish values, serving the Jewish and broader community at a time when support for people’s mental health and well-being, their ability to make ends meet and care for loved ones is more important than ever—honored that Jews and non-Jews in this community stand shoulder to shoulder in partnership and solidarity. This is not something to take for granted and I am most grateful. I stand proud in this fight for justice and redemption, yet also able to understand that others might see things differently.

Reading the onslaught of media outlining the plight of civilians who have lost their lives is painful and devastating. These are human beings too–Like any mother, I OPPOSE war. Someone’s wife, son, daughter, brother, or sister dies. We are all G-d’s children. Life is sacred.

I am praying for a miracle. Let my people go has never been more apt. Literally, Let the hostages go! Figuratively, let my people go, means let the world embrace the Jewish people and give grace to the suffering and struggle we are living because of watching our loved ones and our beloved country brutally attacked by a terrorist regime and a rampage that goes unanswered by the world community and without universal demand to free the hostages.

On this Passover holiday, may we use the sacredness and shared community of our Seders to affirm the right for Israel to exist and defend itself, to pray for the safe return of the hostages, and to extend an olive branch to those citizens of the world who stand for peace, liberty, family unity and religious freedom. May our souls be blessed and the memories of those who have died be for a blessing.

Terri Bonoff is the chief executive officer of Jewish Family & Career Services.

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