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Jewish Survival is an All of Us thing

Happy Passover! May your meal and storytelling inspire you to use your energy to make our world a better place:

A meal with a purpose. That is our Seder!

We joke that all Jewish holidays follow a similar historical and cultural refrain: they tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.

But that is not where it stops-- with the eating. The food is just fuel for our work in the world as Jews. We survive not for the sake of survival but for the sake of our sacred legacy as a Tribe.

We survived for a reason: to heal our world and contribute to it in the most amazing ways. From science to fashion to literature to leadership at the highest and lowest levels, Jews exist to make a difference, to be agents of Tikkun/repair. The world is a gift, this earth a sacred obligation. We, as humans and Jews, are here to heal and protect her. Happy Earth Day, too!

Survival for our people, and now for our planet, is an exhausting journey. Ups and downs. For the past 2000 years, we have organized ourselves around synagogues and Rabbis, rituals and wisdom, memory, and hopes for a better future.

And we have worked hard. So hard. To find peace and safety for ourselves. And we have also worked for the peace and safety of others. Always. Even when we left Egypt. We brought non-Israelite slaves along with us, and we have ALWAYS had a sense of responsibility to the others—those who are not of us. We bring them into our safety and peace.

We know we are not in a place of safety or peace for our people tonight. No matter where we live. No matter if we are rich or poor. If we have one passport or three passports. The world is not a safe place for Jews tonight. And over 100 of us are being held captive by those who seek to destroy us. We have true enemies. And I hate that this is our reality, but it is our truth.

We are .02 percent of the world population but the world is obsessed with us. Will not leave us alone. No matter how much goodness and blessing we bring to the world we yet endure ancient and modern hatred. And yet we march on.

I am hopeful. I am confident that our sacred gatherings will inspire us to keep on keeping on. Raising the next generation of those working with God to improve our world. One step in front of the other. Always moving towards the future. Towards survival--now most importantly of our planet and our people. We strive always to bring divine light into our daily lives through our actions.

We are a people at war tonight. We do not know what even the near future will bring for our people, Israel. Or for the entire Middle East, including Palestinians. We know there is great suffering amongst those in Gaza—hunger and the true suffering of innocent people. We will take wine out of our cups tonight to remember that our survival and safety have always had a negative impact, deadly impact, on innocents. Innocent children. Those who have not yet been taught hate. We will work and pray for an end to unnecessary suffering and food and safety for all.

Defending ourselves is not a zero-sum game. Harm is caused. Pharaoh's horsemen drowned in the sea right before our eyes. First-born sons died in an effort for us to gain our freedom. Our liberation was a true liability for innocent people. We never rejoice in the downfall of the innocent. Even the innocents of the tribe of our enemy. Never. All human life is precious. And children and women and elders, the vulnerable. Always deserve protection.

But that does not mean there is no true justice in our freedom.

We have survived colonization and regime changes, imperial powers, and concentration camps. And we have survived so many wars—too many to count.

The key to our survival is mutual support and love between Jews. This is how we survive. Tonight, may your gathering be blessed with love and joy, meaning and delight. Under the full moon, we come together to raise a glass to our survival and to next year in Jerusalem. Next year, we will be a truly free people. Next year, all of us will be liberated.

I have a special request for you tonight: your help in keeping our small Kirkland community afloat. Due to the cost of security, we need extra support during this year of financial stress.

Friend of Kol Ami or member: I need your help.

Kol Ami is a tiny community. We serve far more people than those who support us financially. We did not meet our goal at our Purim fundraiser. We came up $10,000 short. These funds are necessary for us to make our payroll for the rest of our financial year. We have a total budget of around $300,000. Most of the money goes to payroll and rent. We do vast amounts of good work with very little at Kol Ami.

Not a penny is wasted.

I would be very grateful if you could donate in honor of the work we do at Kol Ami during this season of liberation and peoplehood.

Thank you! Enjoy your Seder!

Rabbi Kinberg

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