White Meadow Temple

153 White Meadow Road | Rockaway, New Jersey  07866 | 973-627-4500 | office@whitemeadowtemple.org | Calendar and Candlelighting Schedule

President's Message
Eric Balis and Stephanie Levine, Co-Presidents

The organizing theme for Passover is “community.” The individual slave or wanderer needed first and foremost to survive, but anything more than mere survival required a larger effort. The community needed to not only to protect its individual members, but to come together, strategize, develop a plan and tactics, and organize to put that plan into effect.  The individual’s likelihood of survival depended to a large extent on the strength of the community, and his/her commitment to enhancing that strength. WE were slaves in Egypt once. G-d took US out of Egypt with a strong hand. WE wandered through the desert for 40 years. G-d gave US the Ten Commandments. The son who sees the world only through his own narcissism is deemed “wicked” in the traditional Haggadah precisely because he does not accept his relationship to the community as necessary for the survival of both. 

Judaism emphasizes the role of community in every aspect of religious life:  In the need for a minyan, in the saying of Kaddish, in the community confessions and requests for forgiveness of the High Holy Day.  The key to all is WE and US--the knowledge that our strength and success comes from our community, ALL of US working together for the greater good.

The seders are about US, our family and friends and those who are strangers in our community coming together to relive the story of US and to remember what we have gone through to get US to the point WE are today.

As we plan our roles and contributions to the organizing of Passover obligations and pleasures, let US also remember the other times in our religious life where our presence is needed and wanted. We as a community want no one to feel abandoned or forgotten in times of sorrow, so please take it upon yourself to help make up a minyan. Whether or not you know or are friends with him/her, it should be the knowledge that someone in OUR community is suffering and you can do something to ease that suffering that motivates you to reach out. It is about WE and US.

We honor the generations that came before us through remembering and reenacting the rituals developed over thousands of years. Recognizing the necessity of the survival of the Jewish people, and recognizing our individual roles in ensuring that survival, is THE reason WE have survived since before the Exodus.

Happy Passover!

See you around the shul.
Stephanie and Eric