Nashville is becoming home to several hundred Afghan allies, as part of a national effort to resettle thousands of evacuees from Afghanistan. In a Jewish community wide effort, we have funded and are committed to help settle and acculturate three families. Working with the sponsorship organization Nashville International Center for Empowerment, NICE, a cadre of volunteers have been trained and are ready to welcome our new Nashville neighbors. The families arriving from Afghanistan will join an expansive, diverse, and multifaceted immigrant community. In anticipation, we have been working with local Afghan immigrant groups to learn about their culture and have already engaged in cooking projects to create meals for emergency needs and to assist families as they arrive.
On March 31, we will celebrate the JCRC Social Justice Seder, an award-winning event held each year which uses the framework of a Passover Seder to explore and illuminate social justice themes. This year, we will learn about local immigrant groups, including our Afghan neighbors, to hear personal stories of exodus, resilience, and the eternal human quest for freedom.
This special Seder will be led by Rabbi Shana Mackler and Cantor Tracy Fishbein of The Temple, and will include both large group celebration and learning, and small group conversation and sharing. By nature Passover is the Festival of Freedom and a perfect time to reflect on how our ancestors fled slavery and how we continue to work towards our own freedom and redemption. The story told in the Passover Haggadah does not only recognize our past, but also our present and future. We recall in the Seder that, “In every generation, we are commanded to view ourselves as if each one of us was personally brought forth out of Egypt.” We do this to remind us that we should personally think about the feeling of being a slave, and how that experience calls upon us to rise up against tyranny in our own time.
During this program, just as in a traditional Seder, we will ask questions that are very relevant to us in this moment in time. We all want to be free, but what specifically does that mean right now? How does personal freedom impact others and how do we balance personal freedom with communal needs? What does freedom mean for immigrant populations? How do we protect and defend the ideals of freedom? What are the responsibilities of freedom?
You can register for the Seder at:https://www.jewishnashville.org/seder2022