07 March 2018

Purim and Passover

Written by Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

During my year in Jerusalem as part of my studies at HUC-JIR, professors warned me that the spring would consist of "Purim, Passover, and packing." No sooner does the year begin than we celebrate Purim, and before you know it, Passover arrives, and then, all of the sudden, you're packing to leave to go back stateside. The spring, they said, always seems to go so quickly, and our holidays seem to come before you know it.

This year, it seems to me, that everything seems to be happening so very quickly. We just celebrated an incredible Purim together as a community and its already time to start thinking about Passover! It's hard to believe that the time to stock up on matzah has already arrived! As I begin to think about preparing for this holiday, the themes of these two holidays have been on my mind. During Purim, we celebrate the strength of Esther who stood up for herself and her people. During Passover, we celebrate a different kind of strength -- the strength it takes to walk into the unknown and know that, together, we find our paths forward.

There are so many times in our lives, each and every day, that we have to walk into the unknown and trust in ourselves, in God, and in one another, to navigate the road before us. During the month leading up to high holidays, we do a great deal of soul searching as we begin the year anew. This year, I'd like to suggest that we do the same in preparation for Passover. Just as our ancestors stood at the shores of the sea, staring at what seemed to be an impossible situation, we too find ourselves face to face with unrealistic odds each and every day. It takes tremendous strength and faith to believe that we can, and that we will, overcome. It takes mental and spiritual preparedness to confront and conquer the impossible. But we can, and we will. But we have to give ourselves the gift of time and patience. We need to do the soul searching, find the inner strength, and reach out to others when we need help.



About the Author

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin

Rabbi Berezin - Assistant Rabbi

Rabbi Deana Sussman Berezin is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. For the past two years, she has served as the Rabbi Educator at Central Reform Congregation, a vibrant congregation of 780 households in the city of St. Louis. Rabbi Berezin attended HUC-JIR in Los Angeles. She earned a Master of Arts in Jewish Education and was ordained in May of 2014. In addition to student pulpits at Temple Beth Torah, Temple Beth Shalom, Beth Knesset Bamidbar, and at the China Lake Naval Air and Weapons Station, Rabbi Berezin served as the Harold M. Schulweis Rabbinic Intern at Jewish World Watch, an organization that promotes education, advocacy and action around issues of genocide and mass atrocities. She had a second rabbinic internship at Our House Grief Support Center, providing pastoral care to both children and adults. Prior to her enrollment in rabbinic school, Rabbi Berezin attended Indiana University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Jewish Studies and Religious Studies and a double minor in Hebrew and Psychology. Rabbi Berezin married Jared Berezin in 2016.

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