Building a Better Future with Lessons from Our Past 

Posted on Feb 22, 2023

Torah Fund Chadashot February 2023 

As we approach Purim and Passover, we can draw on the wisdom of our traditions. 

Why is this issue of Chadashot different from all other issues of Chadashot

We are preparing to celebrate Purim and Passover. Each article references pieces written by Rishe Groner, a senior rabbinical student at JTS.

What do these two holidays have in common? 

We learn. We listen to the reading of Megillat Esther, the story of Purim. We tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Both of these stories take place outside of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. Here we are in the Diaspora, outside Israel. With the guidance of the rabbis, cantors, and educators in our local communities, we celebrate our ancient customs, create new traditions, and add some new embellishments. Thanks to your donations to the Chazak v’Ematz Torah Fund general campaign, we support scholarships and programming for future clergy and educators worldwide at The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, Schechter Institutes in Israel, Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Argentina, and Zacharias Frankel College in Germany. 

Both holidays involve politics. Esther and Moses both negotiated with kings to save their people. Politics are at play today within the Jewish community in North America and globally. We have been fortunate to be able to learn from Israeli diplomats serving in the United States, Ukraine, and Panama. Read about the latest Torah Fund Stands with Israel presentation featuring the Israeli ambassador to Panama. 

Hamantaschen and matzah: Special foods represent each holiday. Each is important. Each is necessary to celebrate properly. Each food represents a tradition specific to its holiday. Hamantaschen, the hidden poppy seeds in the dough pocket. Matzah, the bread of slavery. Such is the importance of the manner in which our students in North America learn. Please continue to donate to the Creating New Spaces campaign. Your gifts provide the Women’s League Study Space in the new residence hall at JTS, and at Ziegler, the Women’s League Institute on Gender Bias and Harassment. 

Everyone is a participant in each holiday. Costumes and groggers, questions and afikomen games are part of our holidays. Each of us is encouraged to take part in all aspects. We create an atmosphere that meets the needs of each of us, from the youngest to the oldest. Imagine babies wearing matzah- patterned bibs sitting on the laps of parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents. Each member of the Torah Fund Legacy Society recognizes the importance of providing for the future. Please read about the legacy of Bea and Fred Reynolds. Learn how you can ensure the future of Conservative/Masorti Judaism. 

Tzedakah connects Purim and Passover. It is a mitzvah to provide gifts for those in need on Purim and to make sure that all have the funds they need to provide matzah and the necessary foods on Pesah. We do this on every holiday, and in fact, giving tzedakah is a daily mitzvah for us. Thank you for recognizing the importance of sharing what you have to enhance the education of our future Conservative/Masorti leaders. We are grateful for all your donations to Torah Fund. 

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy Purim and Pesah.