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I gobbled up the last hamantaschen. Now, attention shifts to Seder planning.  

Even in a Jewish leap year, Purim is scheduled later, just a month before Passover. Why not a month earlier (we have two Adars this year)? What connects the two holidays?

Both conform to that Jewish holiday cliché - "They tried to kill us, we won, let's eat." Yet in many ways, the holidays stand in opposition.

The Exodus involves supernatural miracles, while the Purim story unfolds by way of human hand and heart.

God is not directly visible in the Purim Megillah text. Our victory over Haman is presented as a human victory - the product of planning and execution by Mordecai and Esther.

Conversely, our liberation from Egyptian slavery is God's achievement. The traditional Passover Haggadah doesn't even mention Moses. We are reminded again and again that "with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm," God brought us out of Egypt. 

Achashverosh, the Persian ruler, is not the villain of the Purim tale, though it is by his power and decree that the Jews are to be wiped out. Our salvation is found through persuasion. Esther appeals to the king's heart and mind and changes their direction.

By contrast, Pharaoh is impervious to appeals. We are liberated not by human persuasion but by God's miracles.

Both holidays relate to specific oppression of the Jews. And yet, Passover lends itself to broader concerns. We are instructed to acknowledge the suffering of the Egyptians; Purim offers no such compassion for our enemies.

"Do not oppress the stranger," we are commanded, "for you know the feeling of the stranger because you yourselves were strangers in Egypt." The Haggadah proclaims, "Let all who are hungry come and eat." 

Rabbi Margie Klein suggests that Passover teaches us empathy and Purim teaches us

Israeli scholar Yossi Klein Halevi writes:

Jewish history speaks to our generation in the voice of two biblical commands to remember. The first voice commands us to remember that we were strangers in the land of Egypt, and the message of that command is: "Don't be brutal." The second voice commands us to remember how the tribe of Amalek [Haman's tribe] attacked us without provocation while we were wandering in the desert, and the message of that command is: "Don't be naïve."
We live in an age of contradiction. Jews possess unprecedented power and privilege. And, we continue to face hatred and violence. 

Halevi observes our tendency to fall into one camp or the other - "Purim Jews" and "Passover Jews." And yet, the tradition calls us to celebrate both Purim AND Passover. Perhaps that is why, even in a leap year, Purim and Passover are so close together. Ignoring the lessons of one risks losing our lives; ignoring the other risks losing our souls.

Hillel asked, "If I am not for myself, who will be for me," and "if I am only for myself, what am I?" 

David Waksberg
CEO Jewish LearningWorks
Passover Resources 
Passover begins on Friday, April 22 and concludes on Saturday April 30th.

Borrow a set from our Jewish Community Library's wildly popular lending program. Email or call 415.567.3327 x705 
Limited sets available. First come, first served.

If you are a family with young children living in Marin County, sign up today to receive a FREE Passover gift bag from Kesher.

Supplies are running out - secure yours before it's too late:

Watch your inbox for our brand-new, printable Passover @Home guide for families.

Just as Passover calls on us to feel as if we ourselves were slaves, it implores us not to avert our eyes to the trafficking and bondage that surround us today. Click here for resources.
Passover Events and Resources
Special Passover Yoga Workshops
with Julie Emden

Explore themes of Freedom through these gentle, grounding Iyengar-based yoga and movement practices rooted in Jewish mystical teachings. Come to one or both!
   2:00pm - 4:00pm                                              2:00pm - 4:00pm
   Peninsula Jewish Community Center                 4th Street Yoga   800 Foster City Blvd, Foster City, CA                 1809C 4th Street, Berkeley, CA
Offered in partnership with the PJCC's Jewish Wellness Initiative

To infuse your personal practice with Passover themes or to infuse a communal celebration with an embodied experience, we invite you to utilize this special resource which connects Passover themes to specific physical poses.  The page also includes a downloadable resource for the month of Nissan from At the Well.
Cowan Award Presentation at the Jewish Community Library
The Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund will present the 2015 Anne and Robert Cowan Writers Award to Michael David Lukas, with a runner-up prize awarded to Jason K. Friedman.  The award recognizes Bay Area writers who have made an exceptional contribution to literary arts through a uniquely Jewish perspective.

Please join us for an evening with Michael David Lukas in conversation with Dan Schifrin, followed by a reception.

Wednesday, April 6th at the Jewish Community Library
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA
Free garage parking on Pierce between Ellis and Eddy

Jewish Community Library
Film Screening of Geto

Thursday, April 7
7:00pm - 8:30pm 
Jewish Community Library

Presented by: Regina Resnik and Miachale Philp Davis

Jewish Community Library
Writing Workshop with Anne Germanacos


Sunday, April 10
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Jewish Community Library, SF

Presented by: Anne Germanacos

Exploring the World of Judaism
What is Jewish Music?

Sunday, April 10
9:40am - 11:40am
Congregation Shir Hadash

Presented by: Meeka SImerly

Jewish Community Library
The Final Mitzvot: Advance Planning, Ethical Wills, and Ethical Dilemmas 

Sunday, April 10
1:30pm - 3:00pm 
Jewish Community Library

Presented by: Rabbi Lawrence Raphael

Embodied Jewish Learning
Yoga for Freedom in partnership with

Sunday, April 10
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Peninsula Jewish Community Center
Foster City

Presented by: Julie Emden

Jewish Community Library
The Periodic Table: Primo Levi and the 'Strenuous Clarity of the West'


Thursday, April 14
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Jewish Community Library

Presented by: 
Murray Baumgarten and Karen Antonelli

Embodied Jewish Learning
Yoga for Passover
Sunday, April 17
2:00pm - 4:00pm 
1809C 4th Street, Berkeley

Presented by: Julie Emden

For Families with Young Children

Jewish LearningWorks | 601 14th Ave | San Francisco, CA 94118 

Jewish LearningWorks | 601 14th Avenue | San Francisco | CA | 94118