Pathways to Freedom

Passover provides so many themes and opportunities to reflect and be grateful. Whether it’s thinking about spring, renewal, leadership, or freedom, we can all find pathways to connect to the holiday. As I’ve walked down the hallways these last few weeks at school, I’ve heard mah nishtanah being sung by our youngest students, while our fifth graders strummed the notes to the very same verses on their ukuleles. Discussions and debates occurred in classrooms about what it means to be a leader, how it feels to be free, and why we retell this story over and over each year. As part of students’ participation in the Pathways to Freedom project created  by the Jewish Arts Collaborative of Greater Boston, students were asked to describe what makes them feel free. Their answers are a breath of fresh air and a heartwarming reminder to appreciate both the big and small moments in our lives. I tried to capture a small taste of their spirit by putting their words into a poem for you to enjoy.

I feel free when I’m sailing, hiking, dancing, swimming
On a horse with animals around me and the wind in my hair
I feel free when I am doing gymnastics, playing with my sister, brother, family
I feel free drawing pictures, reading, and going down the slide

I feel free at the…beach, in nature, at camp
On a bike ride
At the seder,
Eating matzah

I feel free because I can live and do what I want
Because I can relax
Because I can be strong
I feel free

How fortunate we are to live in place where our children’s perspective comes from actualized freedom; sadly, we know this is not true for children everywhere. I’m proud to share with you an article by my dear friend, Julie Fisher, who is working to ensure that children from around the world can experience a joyful and free childhood. She is living the mitzvah of, You should love the stranger as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.As she said, “None of us are free, until all of us are free.” Click here to read more.

Wishing everyone a Zissen (sweet) Pesach – Happy Passover!