Let us consider placing an empty chair at our Seder tables.
As one of the oldest persons at the Passover Seder I will attend
this Friday evening, I plan to
rise early in the Seder when we are explaining the many features of
our table, point to that empty chair and ask:
Why is this empty chair at our Seder table tonight?
Starting around 1965 an empty chair at a Seder showed support for
the Jews in the Soviet Union who were not free to practice our
faith. The struggle to free them was won and in the 1970s and
'80s millions of Jews left the Former Soviet
Union for Israel and the United States. Tonight this chair honors those who worked to free
and then to
welcome them. It celebrates what was a 20th century Exodus.
Let this chair also help turn our thoughts to our ancestors who had the wisdom and courage to come to
this wonderful country. Where would we be
this chair also be a gesture of openness, of welcoming the stranger, at a time when many
talk about building walls.
April 20, 2016