A Passover Message from Ronald Richter
As the holiday of Passover begins tonight, the Jewish community all over the world will celebrate the exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt more than 3000 years ago. The Passover seder retells this story of liberation and renewal—themes that are also echoed in the important Christian holidays of Good Friday and Easter, which also occur this week.
Every year, during the seder, we ask the youngest person at the table to recite the ma nishtana, the four questions, in order to ground us and remind us why we are here. The role of children centering our perspective and reminding us of our responsibilities was reflected last Saturday, during the “March for Our Lives.” So many inspiring and courageous young people—among them, our own clients—took to the streets protesting the scourge of gun violence in our nation.
As I have said before, gun violence is a child welfare issue; it destroys the lives of children and their loved ones, devastating entire communities, from affluent Florida suburbs to the New York City neighborhoods where JCCA transforms lives. In Boston, teacher Nino Brown held a moment of silence for Stephon Clark, the victim of a police shooting in Sacramento just two days before the march. Eleven-year-old Naomi Wadler, one the most powerful speakers on stage in Washington, D.C., said, “I am here to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news…who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls and full of potential.” As both Passover and Easter mark renewed energy and hope emerging at the end of a long, cold winter, we cannot help but feel motivated by the young people who have inspired and operationalized this movement.
Whether we celebrate this weekend or not, we should tap into this youthful, focused energy to inform our work and advance our responsibility to help people who are oppressed. The Passover themes of freedom, self-determination, and justice are universal. I am honored to work with so many dedicated individuals who embody these values in the commitments they make every day.
Ronald E. Richter
Chief Executive Officer