Today (Tuesday 15 April, 15 Nisan) was the first day of Passover. Last night I attended a lovely seder with rituals thoughtfully brought to bear but the fullness of holiday happened today at the prison where I volunteer. As soon as I greeted Mordechai, the Orthodox Jewish co-facilitator of the writing class I offer on Tuesdays, he pulled a matzo carefully Saran-wrapped from his satchel. “Quick,” he said, “we must bless and eat this.” Like our forebears on the run, he chanted the Barucha in haste. Steve, the other inside facilitator joined us as we each ate a piece.
There, in what many would liken to a spiritual wilderness, an arid place with little vegetation, Ruach ha-olam, the Breath of the Universe filled the room. For the next couple of hours, eleven men shared so thoughtfully their own experience of time in the wilderness—how they learned to cope, accept help and blossom.
Each week, we grow more comfortable with each other. The breadth of candor and depth of reflection humble me. There, in the unlikeliest of places, liberation and connection bloom. Dayenu.