As I sit down to write this column, the Eagles have just won the Super Bowl, the Falcon Heavy Rocket has just successfully launched, and I am listening to the Early Childhood Program celebrate the Olympics in anticipation of the start of the Winter Olympics at the end of the week.
Writing down all of these events leads me to think about the meaning behind each of them. It is hard not to come to the realization that what seemed impossible yesterday is possible. Whether you rooted for the Eagles or not, we can all agree that the outcome was a reminder that fate is never sealed and victory after sixty years is possible. As I watched the rocket launch on my computer, hours after it happened, I was brought back to my childhood of watching space shuttle launches on clunky tv’s in school classrooms, cheering at the opportunities that existed with each launch. Now, thinking about all of the advancements that we have made from my time as a young girl, we can truly celebrate the possibilities that await us as we take the next step forward in space exploration. Though I cannot predict the future, I am certain that in the coming days, while this article is being published, there will be numerous stories of athletes that overcame incredible obstacles to fulfill their dreams as they stand at the podium receiving their awards; stories of individuals who never imagined being gold medal winners in their sport, let alone being able to compete in the Olympics.
This notion that our destiny is not sealed propels us as a people. By the time you are reading this, our minds will be turned away from the thrills of the Super Bowl, rocket launches, and the Olympics. Instead, we will be thinking about Passover, and more specifically preparing our homes for the upcoming holiday. The Seder is an important reminder of the malleability of our future. As we sit down for the Seder, we begin by recounting our past as slaves, reminding ourselves of our history. Yet, in the moment we recall our past, we also acknowledge the fact that God redeemed us from slavery; thereby changing the future narrative of the Jewish people. For the slaves in Egypt, it seemed impossible that their destiny could be anything other than slavery. Yet, through God’s redemption, they were taught that their future was not sealed. And though God redeemed them from slavery, they were the ones to write the next part of their narrative. Change could and would come from within.
This idea of hope and possibility leads us out of Passover into the commemorations and celebrations that follow. The weeks following Passover include Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Israel’s Independence Day). We commemorate Yom Hashoah year after year honoring the lives and stories of those who struggled to take destiny in their own hands, rewriting our people’s story because of their bravery and courage. The next week we mourn the lives of those lost fighting for the State of Israel, fighting to ensure a future for a Jewish Homeland. As night falls on Yom Hazikaron, we enter into the celebration of Yom Ha’atzma’ut, the celebration of the existence of Israel because of the brave soldiers and all of the dreamers who understood the imperative that we write our own future. These days remind us of the possibilities that exist around us, even what the future seems impossible.
We were once slaves and now we are free people. With that freedom we are able to do incredible things. The possibilities await us each and every day.