We think of these as trying times: The heavy toll of the pandemic. Political unrest. A senseless and brutal war. The cost of climate change. Bennifer reconstituted.
Though as the story of Passover always brings home, human history is infused with times of struggle and uncertainty, our joy and happiness challenged again and again by threat and injustice.
That is clear in these pages. Elizabeth Ehrlich’s stirring cover story explores the work of congregants Ruth Obernbreit-Glass and Sharon Silver in helping illuminate the lives of enslaved people who lived right here on our local streets. A book excerpt, gives a new glimpse into the Polish ghettos of World War II, and into the courage of some of the women who were there. Images and stories from the Koslowe Gallery engage our most monumental challenge, hearkening to the fragility of earth’s living waters.
Yet again the month of April will breed lilacs out of the dead land. And again, in this second-ever issue of Voices, we are lifted by the winking words of Jeremy Blachman, conveying in his good humor that the manner in which our children may sit or eat (or not sit or not eat) at the Seder table, is far less important than that they are with us. There may be a recipe for how to deliver such forms of unspoken love, but as Glenna Lee shows us through her piece on Matzo Ball Soup, you don’t need one.
The writers in this issue include pillars of our WJC community, among them those who composed the lively tributes to this year’s gala honorees: Jennifer Winters, Ian Winters, Linda Alpert Karell and Marc Karell—each honoree exemplary not only in the work they do but also in the spirit they bring. Rich content created by superb contributors is why Voices succeeds. It soars due to its core caretakers. Evan Schapiro, Katie Schlientz, and Jacques Steinberg are the talented and devoted executors of a venture that would not exist without its Edison, Rabbi Jeffrey Arnowitz.
In a particularly beautiful vocal passage by Neshama Carlebach—who is interviewed in this issue by WJC’s very own Ali G.—she sings, May our words reflect You/May our voices climb/May the heavens hear us/May Your light shine. As Passover arrives, and we spend a little time with these stories, we might remember that now, just as millennia ago, songs of suffering are often also songs of hope.