קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

22 April 2024 ~ 14 Nisan 5784

Erev Pesach

Dear friends, chaveirim y'karim,

So many Jewish customs, rites, and rituals have held for centuries (in some cases, millennia) because they have deep meaning, are readily adaptable, are portable, and express eternal truths. 

When it comes to Passover, our cups of tradition literally overflow and symbolically are far beyond the requisite four that help structure the seder. 

From the seder plate to the three matzot that sit waiting for the middle one to be broken, from the melodies (which are probably not as old as we might think…) to the words spoken and sung throughout the night, the seder is old, festive, powerful, yes even antiquated at times, and inspiring. 

One of my favorite parts of the seder comes with a line:

In every generation, every person is to see him/herself as if having (personally) gone out from Egypt. 

.בכל דור ודור חיב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et atzmo k'ilu hu yatza miMitzrayim. 

What would that feel like … 

To have been a slave? 

To have seen the plagues? 

To have been told you are free after four centuries of degradation in the fleshpots of Egypt? 

To trust in Moses?

To trust in God?

To trust in myself? 

To journey from one place to an unknown future?

To journey following a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day?

To journey with people who are my kinsmen and yet with whom I may have only tangential connection? 

In shul the other day, Amy made a wonderful mistake in her teaching this phrase and it led to all sorts of discussion for us. Inadvertently, she changed one word (yatza - "to go out" TO hayah - "to have been") thus making the seminal statement: In every generation, every person is to see him/herself as if having (personally) BEEN IN Egypt. (As opposed to having GONE OUT from Egypt). 

When she made the mistake — it turns out she was thinking about one piece of art that we saw at the Hostage Square in Tel Aviv. In this display there were 253 mirrors (pictured above). As we walked through this art installation the message was very clear — you could have been a hostage, had you been at the Nova Festival or on the kibbutzim which were attacked. I imagine the artist was imploring all of us to fight for the hostages release, as if our families were in Gaza. That day in March when Amy and I walked through this installation, I thought about the Haggadah — and the challenge to see myself as having left Egypt. 

The artist who designed the installation understood a basic truth about the Jewish people. To be a part of the Jewish people is to feel each other’s pain and to celebrate each other’s successes. I suspect that is why this year's Seder will feel so very different from years past.

While the Passover seder celebrates our having gone from oppression to freedom, this moment demands that we dwell in the darkness - lest from this we have learned nothing (to quote a famous poem by Israeli poet Avraham Shlonsky).

There are various families and advocates of the hostages who remain in Gaza who have asked that we set aside a chair for the hostages. Find resources here to learn more. 

Amy's inadvertent change of the line illustrates this effort of remembrance perfectly. In this generation, it is upon us - each and every one of us - to see ourselves as if we are the hostages, as if we are the brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, neighbors, cousins, coworkers, loved ones of our fellow Jews, who are held by a modern day Pharaoh who, in many ways, is far more cruel and brutal than the biblical monarch. We are to see ourselves as refugees within our own land - having been forcibly removed because of the threat of war from Hizbollah, as those who evacuated to safe rooms as lethal missiles came in from Iran, as those whose loved ones are serving in reserves and in active duty.  

As you sit for seder, may we feel and celebrate the freedom that God has granted us and thankfully our United States has embedded in this great land’s laws. So too, may we take the time to remember the modern day horrors that real people are inflicting on the Jewish people and on the nation state of Israel.

Chag sameach - may it be a meaningful holiday, 

Rabbi Mark Cohn

Above: A sculpture of mirrors asking us to envision ourselves in the very position of the hostages (Hostage Square in Tel Aviv).

PLEASE REGISTER for Thursday, May 9th at 7 PM, "HOW OCTOBER 7TH CHANGED ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH WORLD" at the Jewish Federation of Western CT (444 Main Street North, Southbury). Guest speaker, Yossi Klein Halevi, will address the ever-shifting reality of what our Jewish world - and Israel, in particular, has been experiencing over the last seven months.


Alana Newhouse in Tablet Magazine, "The Jews who didn't leave Egypt." An outstanding look at a midrash on our leaving Egypt and our current reality.

Avi Issacharoff on Times of Israel Podcast: What Matters Now? Listen to how Issacharoff understands Iran and Israel.

Bari Weiss in The Free Press, "They were assaulted on campus for being Jews." Read from Columbia student Jonathan Lederer and Yale student Sahar Tartak.

Jaw-dropping and important reads to assess the current situation in some of our nation's cities and college campuses.

For your seder consideration, based on your guest list:

David Bernstein in The Jewish Journal, "Sitting with Rebels."

Abi Dauber Sterne in Times of Israel, "Arguments at the Seder?"


Psalm 121: Text // Melody

Acheinu Kol Beit Yisrael: Text & Melody


Learning with Tikvah:

I. Zionism & Anti-Zionism;

II. Jewish Parents Form,

III. The War in Israel


One of the best versions (plus animation) of Louis Armstrong's Let my people go, EVER!! This short video link is part of a full-length movie called "Seder-Masochism" by Nina Paley.

Echad mi yodea - Who knows one? Batsheva Dance Company.

A Passover 2024 / 5784 Spotify Playlist from Rabbi Mark Cohn. Enjoy for your seder or just ... because!

Haggadah Supplement 5784 from the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Haggadah Supplement 5784 from the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism.


Tuesday, April 30th @ 6:00 PM

What better way to "break Passover" than to double dip on chametz? Join us for pizza and beer - all local, of course, at Temple Sholom!



MAY 3, 17, 31


Meeting ID: 876 2982 2282

Passcode: shabbat




Led by CJ Kelly



MAY 4*, 11, 18, 25

*Led by Rabbi Cohn

Temple Sholom

122 Kent Road ~ P.O. Box 509

New Milford, CT 06776

(860) 354-0273

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