As we prepare to mark Passover, its ancient story resonates particularly strongly this year. While the fight for freedom of our ancestors in Egypt dates back millennia, the message behind it is timeless as seen in the current state of the world. From the alarming rise in antisemitism and toxic anti-Israel hostility to Ukraine’s brave, harrowing defence of its homeland and people against Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion, Passover’s central narrative of standing up against oppression takes on new meaning and relevance today.
It certainly hits home for all of us at FSWC where the values of freedom, democracy and human rights, along with the lessons of the Holocaust, govern everything we do. Passover and other sad chapters in our history remind us we can’t take freedom for granted. It’s too far precious and easily forsaken to let our guard down. Whether we like it or not, we must be constantly vigilant against discrimination and hatred, which is at the core of what drives us at FSWC in our education programs and advocacy efforts, each and every day.
As we gather around the Passover seder table tomorrow and together read the Haggadah, let this riveting story of liberation, freedom and the Jewish exodus connect us to contemporary issues and inspire us to take action. In celebrating the triumph of Moses in leading the Israelites from a life of slavery and subjugation in Egypt to one of liberty, we should note our historical fight for freedom has continued until the present day – and likely will never stop.
With so much of the world suffering turmoil and upheaval, we are fortunate to live in Canada where freedom and democracy are so strongly rooted, albeit at times imperfectly. While this country remains a relatively safe place for Jews and other minorities, it’s imperative we are steadfast in defending against antisemitism and hate in all its forms and protecting human rights for all Canadians.
While Jews around the world are dealing with a troubling rise in antisemitism, here in Canada, we’ve seen an increasingly collaborative approach between our Jewish community organizations lead to greater cooperation and effectiveness as we work together tackling the pressing issues of concern to Canadian Jews. That truly bodes well for the future of our community and will continue to be a priority in our work at FSWC.
Wishing you and your loved ones a meaningful Passover celebration and Chag Pesach Sameach.
FSWC President and CEO