Passover Behind Bars
Like everyone else across the country, I am “locked down” in social distancing, trying to avoid being infected with COVID-19. The only difference is I share a room with 165 other male inmates We do have phones, TV, email and books; food is served to us by staff — no exit to the chow hall.
I had been planning seders for both nights for the 39 Jewish Passover observers. As of today, April 2, it doesn’t look like this is going to happen. However, two op-eds in the Jewish Exponent have added light and joy to us, as I was able to have copies made and distributed to those Jewish observers of Passover.
The first, by Sharon Taylor (“1918 to 2020: A Great-Granddaughter’s Perspective,” March 26), recalling how her ancestors, we Jews, have survived through flu epidemics, cholera, typhoid fever and wars, gives inspiration that we too here will survive this to celebrate Passovers once again with our families in health and with love.
The second, by Rabbi Rayzel Raphael (“We Shall See,” March 26), gave such an inspirational perspective on how to view a plague as an opportunity to “come together” and what the world could achieve if we all approached it with her “what if?” optimism. I’m sure if Rabbi Raphael had been alive when John Lennon had recorded “Imagine” he would have written it using her “what if?”
Of course, two others, an article by Sophie Panzer (“Passover Plans Change in Wake of COVID-19,” March 26), and an op-ed by Sherrie Savett (“Jewish Federation Responds to COVID-19,” March 26), remind us that at times like this the Torah reminds us that we can celebrate a month later and that, as Jews, through war and strife, we still reach out, one to another, to support those around us.
Thank you to those four beautiful authors for the blessings (they may not be aware of the heights to which it reached) and the entire staff of the Jewish Exponent.
Harold Shmuckler | Butner, North Carolina