ICCJ President's Greetings for Pesach and Easter 2023

Liliane Apotheker

Source: ICCJ

Liliane Apotheker, ICCJ President

This year again Passover and Easter are almost concomitant. That means that we can celebrate the gift of our feasts at the same time, rejoicing for ourselves and for others.

This is one of the better fruits of dialogue. Though reminded of the separation between our two faiths, we no longer experience it as a source of animosity or even hostility but rather as a promise of a diversity that carries weight, meaning and richness.

When I think about the Seder to come, many thoughts come to mind, first and foremost that the pandemic is now hopefully behind us and that we can finally have “normal” Seder and Easter celebrations. Seder night carries its highly symbolic foods; they will always be in front of us when we celebrate but their meaning may take on a slightly different content every year.

So, what will this year’s matza taste like? What “affliction“ will it designate? What freedom will we long for? The Hebrew word “Taam” connotates both taste and meaning.

Anyone who has attended a Passover Seder knows that the answers to these questions will be as numerous as the participants, every single one bringing his/her own perspective, which often results in vigorous debate. This year it is to be feared that families will be very divided as Jewish people in Israel and in the diaspora are facing an existential crisis. The Four Sons in the Haggadah asking their questions about the Seder convey the promise of manifold understandings, but when reading the questions and the suggested replies we cannot ignore that some are right, and others are wrong. Yet it is equally true that we cannot dismiss those questions.

This I believe to be valid for every conversation, but even more so for an existential one. I can only hope that this year’s Seder will allow us to see that some values cannot be relativized: democracy is one of them. Religions tend to say that the “Tov”, the good, of creation will always prevail, religions are about hope. I am hard pressed to be at ease with that, but I do believe that “Tov “cannot be eradicated so I am holding on to that principle.

With this allow me to wish you all meaningful Passover and Easter celebrations.