Freedom, or herut, has been a fundamental principle upon which many communities, including that of the United States and Israel, have been founded. From Moses until today, herut, the seeking of freedom, has been an essential part of the Jewish story for over 3,000 years. We learn from our stories that freedom is not simply the absence of oppression, but also having the opportunity to make meaningful choices in life and stand up for what we believe.

In Jewish tradition and history, Pesach - Passover - is a festival that commemorates past slavery and the Exodus from Egypt; it is the national unity celebration of our people; the festival of the greatness of the Jewish family; it is the Spring festival that embraces the renewal and awakening of a people. Above all it is known as Hag Ha-Herut, the festival of freedom, the freedom of every single Jewish individual and the freedom of the entire Jewish people.

Traditionally, liberation was understood to have come directly from God. Today, we can also interpret the idea of herut and its relationship with Pesach as meaning when a group of people come together for a common cause, they can triumph many tragedies.

In turn, Pesach is frequently understood as a celebration of the release and letting go of all that one is enslaved to, such as fears and personal struggles. Universally, this means that Pesach symbolizes the hope for the release of all people from physical and spiritual bondage, and the ability of all to live in dignity. As such, Jews were freed from mental and physical slavery during their time in Egypt. It was as a physically and spiritually free people that the Jewish nation became prepared to receive the Torah on Mt. Sinai and embrace a life of ethics and values.

Freedom is a person’s ability to make their own choices, Jewish people celebrate freedom for all people.