Here in Israel, we will be celebrating Passover because our flights back to the United States were canceled due to the Coronavirus. We are about to begin celebrating the first night of Passover. Passover is an easily defined holiday for Jews. It is the holiday of Freedom.
The Founders of our great American Republic saw themselves as the Israelites coming from bondage to freedom. The Pilgrims saw themselves that way, and so did the Quakers and many others.
One of the earliest suggestions for the seal of the new United States was Moses parting the Red Sea.
Franklin Roosevelt famously articulated the Four Freedoms on Monday, January 6, 1941. The Four Freedoms that Roosevelt defined were: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from wont, and freedom from fear. The speech was delivered only 11 months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
We can think of the freedoms we long for today: freedom of choice; freedom from confinement; freedom from fear; freedom from disease; and freedom from government restrictions, whether necessary or not.
Perhaps in America we do not think enough about our freedom. We often hear the trite expression that freedom is not free. It is of course beyond question that freedom has taken the sacrifice of many millions of Americans over a period of more than 200 years. That is freedom in the macro sense. Today, we think about the micro component of freedom. Our freedom of movement is severely restricted. We feel confined, threatened, and fearful.
The Passover Seder represents the beginning of the New Year. It was a time when the Jews left Egypt as a formerly enslaved people not yet used to the privileges and responsibility of freedom. Initially, they questioned everything and sometimes they did not even understand the significance of the miracles which brought them as wanderers into the desert seeking the promised land, the land of milk and honey.
Jews in Israel are acutely aware of their responsibility to the rest of the world. Israel does set an example of a robust, free democracy surrounded by a sea of hatred and malcontent.
Americans who are not celebrating Passover but are getting ready to celebrate Easter and its message of rebirth can also join as brothers and sisters with the Jewish community in appreciating our freedom and in focusing on how we can make our country and our lives better after the immediate threat of the current pandemic is lifted. How are we going to be better? How are we going to change? What resolutions will we make that we keep, and what resolutions will we make that we cannot keep?
I have taken to making a list of things I would like to see changed in my personal approach, in the way that my business is run and in my community. That is taking on enough. I would like to see plenty of changes on the national and international levels, but if I can just change two or three things in a significant way that improves the quality of my life and the lives of the people around me, that would be very BIG.
Each day, we read more and more bad news about death and suffering in our immediate community, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the United States, and the world at large. Perhaps as a civilization and society, we can think about being kinder to our world and more attentive to the spread of disease among the many billions of people whose health we are now the stewards of. When we get back to full steam in the great United States of America, what will we do to prepare for future threats? Perhaps this is the time to put the lid on the nuclear genie and get serious about shutting down nuclear proliferation. Countries like Iran and Syria must be sanctioned until they give up their nuclear ambitions. The great world powers need to cooperate on this goal and it needs to be an apolitical destination as well.
The question of environmental damage and global warming are issues that we should think about when we have time to tackle other great problems.
I once heard a Rabbi give a cute sermon in which he said G-d always taps us on the shoulder first. If we do not listen, we may get a nudge; and finally, we will get hit over the head with a 24. Maybe it is time that we sit up and actually see what is going on in the world around us?
To everyone and their families, friends, loved ones, those without support, those alone and those with families of varying sizes, may you all have a blessed, peaceful, happy and healthy Passover and Easter.
From Bat Galim, Haifa Israel, the Holy Land.
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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- Letter: Marlboro's Degrees of Freedom can thrive - with innovation, collaboration - Brattleboro Reformer - August 2nd, 2020
- 'Freedom' rally in Twin Falls decries moderate Republicans, public education, masks and the media - bigcountrynewsconnection.com - August 2nd, 2020
- When it comes to freedom of the press, it is 'problematic' in many of the richest countries across the world - USA TODAY - August 2nd, 2020
- Editors opened the doors to Freedom School, then even wider as magazine of black thought - Cambridge Day - August 2nd, 2020
- Introduction to the Freedom of Information Act | News, Sports, Jobs - Daily Mining Gazette - August 2nd, 2020
- Memorial honors families that have paid the ultimate price for America's freedom - Standard-Examiner - August 2nd, 2020
- 'It's the freedom of it': Bikers rally in Stateline ahead of Sturgis, unconcerned about virus - The Spokesman-Review - August 2nd, 2020
- 120 alerts in 4 months: Severe threats to press freedom across Europe - IFEX - August 2nd, 2020
- As feds attacks freedom, where's the right wing? - Santa Fe New Mexican - August 2nd, 2020
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Are Doing the Opposite of 'Finding Freedom' - The Daily Beast - August 2nd, 2020
- Weve Neglected the Freedom of Assembly for Years Before Portland - Slate - August 2nd, 2020
- Did President Obama Award Jeffrey Epstein the Medal of Freedom? - Snopes.com - August 2nd, 2020
- Virtual NAACP Convention to kick off locally with "Freedom Weekend" - Dorchester Reporter - August 2nd, 2020
- Is the singers' freedom of expression absolute? - Annapurna Express - August 2nd, 2020
- Freedom goes hand in hand with restraint - Daily Nation - August 2nd, 2020
- Why Saifuddin Sozs Failure to Secure Freedom from 'House Arrest' Should Concern Us All - The Wire - August 2nd, 2020
- A community conversation on race and freedom - PAHomePage.com - August 2nd, 2020
- Sozs detention: Calling it freedom may be stretching law to breaking - The Times of India Blog - August 2nd, 2020
- Finding Freedom: 10 things we learned from Harry and Meghan's book - The Guardian - August 2nd, 2020
- Coronavirus Cases On The Rise In Italy. Freedom Does Not Mean Infecting Others - Forbes - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom Schools come to Wilmington, here's what the program is all about [Free read] - Port City Daily - July 31st, 2020
- Internet freedom is in imminent danger, claims Twitter boss Jack Dorsey in attack on other tech companies - The Independent - July 31st, 2020
- Hugo Spotlight: Ted Chiang's Anxiety is the Dizziness of Freedom Transforms the Familiar - tor.com - July 31st, 2020
- Captain Sir Tom Moore receives honorary freedom of his home town - shropshirestar.com - July 31st, 2020
- A Scary Fact Found in a Gun Survey on the Upcoming Election - America's 1st Freedom - July 31st, 2020
- Secret passageways and freedom roads: Remnants of the Underground Railroad in NC - WRAL.com - July 31st, 2020
- Award-Winning IPhone Photos Capture Global Scenes Of Freedom And Serenity : Goats and Soda - NPR - July 31st, 2020
- 155 Years of Black Freedom - Columbia Business Times - July 31st, 2020
- Fear of speech is replacing freedom of speech - The Boston Globe - July 31st, 2020
- "Freedom Festival" is planned this weekend - The Ellsworth American - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom worth fighting for right here in America - Times Union - July 31st, 2020
- TCW's Brexit Watch: Are we heading for a fake freedom? - The Conservative Woman - July 31st, 2020
- John Lewis: 'Now it is your turn to let freedom ring' | TheHill - The Hill - July 31st, 2020
- The Hard Right is a Far Greater Threat to Freedom of Speech than 'Cancel Culture' - Byline Times - July 31st, 2020
- On the internet, freedom for some never means freedom for all - The Spinoff - July 31st, 2020
- Freedom of the great outdoors - Farm and Dairy - July 31st, 2020
- The distance ahead: John Lewis, Gov. John Patterson and the challenges of reconciliation - Montgomery Advertiser - July 31st, 2020
- Joe Rogan is Moving to Texas, Says There's More Freedom There - Showbiz Cheat Sheet - July 30th, 2020
- Opinion: Turkey closing window on press freedom - DW (English) - July 30th, 2020
- THIS WEEK IN HISTORY: Freedoms Davis adds to banner year - Morganton News Herald - July 30th, 2020
- Two years after Janus, more workers are exercising their freedom of association - San Bernardino County Sun - July 30th, 2020
- Freedom of speech is a right, but is there a line drawn for teachers - MyFoxZone.com KIDY - July 30th, 2020
- Berta Cceres in her own words - Toward Freedom - July 30th, 2020
- Letters: An alarming threat to our freedom to speak freely - HeraldScotland - July 30th, 2020
- How the automobile is giving us back our freedom in the summer of COVID-19 - Driving - July 30th, 2020
- Weekend Protest Round-Up: Massive Crowds, Unpredictable Tear Gas, More Freedom for the Press - The Portland Mercury - July 30th, 2020
- Freedom Healthy Cooking Oils Launches a campaign #Immunity begins in the Kitchen - PR Newswire India - July 29th, 2020
- Guest editorial: Mask-wearing protects freedom and the economy - Lewiston Morning Tribune - July 29th, 2020
- The Venus in Scorpio finds freedom with new single Roam - CelebMix - July 29th, 2020
- NLRB Decision Gives Employers More Freedom to Address Offensive and Abusive Conduct - JD Supra - July 29th, 2020
- What Prince William Thinks of the New Finding Freedom Book About the Royal Family - Us Weekly - July 29th, 2020
- Religious freedom is no reason to deny people with disabilities the right to equality in the workplace | TheHill - The Hill - July 29th, 2020
- Repealing Ohio's CAT Will Enhance Economic Freedom and Opportunity - Buckeye Institute - July 29th, 2020
- Portrait of an Artist: Jozimar Matimano paints in the colors of freedom - Manchester Ink Link - July 29th, 2020
- Finding Freedom book extracts claim to tell Harry and Meghan's story, but they say they weren't involved - ABC News - July 29th, 2020
- How the Supreme Court's Expansion of Freedom of Religion Makes Its Decision on the Rights of Gays and Transsexuals Possible - Mosaic - July 28th, 2020
- Finding Freedom: Everything we've learned so far from upcoming biography of Harry and Meghan - The Independent - July 27th, 2020
- For his next trick, the showman might make freedom disappear | Column - Tampa Bay Times - July 27th, 2020
- Halo Infinite Is Halo CE with Walls Knocked Down and Freedom to Explore, Says Dev - Wccftech - July 27th, 2020
- We Can Either Fight This Thing, Or Starve: Texas Bars Open Illegally As Part Of Freedom Fest - CBS Dallas / Fort Worth - July 27th, 2020
- Risk aversion in Special Operations: When aid workers have more freedom in a combat zone - SOFREP - July 27th, 2020
- Freedom of the Press | Columnists | islandernews.com - Islander News.com - July 27th, 2020
- In Pictures: Activists around the world stage Fridays for Freedom protests in solidarity with Hong Kong pro-democracy movement - Hong Kong Free Press - July 27th, 2020
- Juvenile lifer gets second chance at freedom 30 years later - WXII The Triad - July 27th, 2020
- PBS Streams Award-Winning Freedom Riders Documentary To Honor Memory Of Rep. John Lewis And Rev. C. T. Vivian - Forbes - July 27th, 2020
- In Pennsylvania, fight against wearing masks involves some key Republicans, and liberty - York Daily Record - July 27th, 2020
- This Is How The End Of Freedom Starts, According To New Political Ad 07/21/2020 - MediaPost Communications - July 27th, 2020
- Unalienable Rights and the Securing of Freedom | US Embassy & Consulate in Kazakhstan - US Embassy and Consulate in Kazakhstan - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom of the Press | Columnists - Islander News.com - July 26th, 2020
- NZ has become 'too blas' about its hard-won freedom from Covid - Stuff.co.nz - July 26th, 2020
- 'Finding Freedom' suggests the Sussexes have not yet burned their bridges - Telegraph.co.uk - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom rally at Capitol blasts Governor Wolfs handling of coronavirus - ABC27 - July 26th, 2020
- Love of freedom is the missing ingredient in this Tory government - Telegraph.co.uk - July 26th, 2020
- Freedom at last: Roosevelt Myles released after 28 years behind bars | The Crusader Newspaper Group - The Chicago Cusader - July 25th, 2020
- Letter to the Editor: Overreaching laws are taking away our freedom - - New Kent - Charles City Chronicle - July 25th, 2020
- SNP's hate crime bill poses 'grave threat' to the freedom of the press and risks 'society of fear' - Telegraph.co.uk - July 25th, 2020
- Joe Rogan is leaving Los Angeles and moving to Texas because there's more freedom there - TheBlaze - July 25th, 2020
- The freedom to speak and criticize - Yellowhammer News - Yellowhammer News - July 25th, 2020
- Excerpts from Harry and Meghan`s New Book, Finding Freedom- Sensational New Biography on the Royals - Euro Weekly News - July 25th, 2020
- Group gathers in Lynchburg Saturday afternoon for freedom walk, rally to bear arms - WFXRtv.com - July 25th, 2020