Preparing for Our Own Exodus this Passover

by Rabbi Ilana Zietman / March 1, 2021


As we look toward Passover in 2021, with the prospect of continued social distancing and Zoom seders a reality again, it’s important to realize that while some things look and feel exactly the same, we are in a different place than we were this time last year. 

Last year, many of us were sitting in our homes, alone and totally shocked over all of the scary unknowns about COVID-19 and how we’d even do Passover under such circumstances. This year, while many of us still feel lonely and frustrated (which is still a big deal), we’ve also learned a heck of a lot of important lessons in this time, and together, can see emerging paths for our own exodus from this devastating disease. 

Just as the Israelites did the night before they left Egypt, so shall we observe Passover looking toward a redemption that we hope is just around the corner, but not yet realized.

The actual Exodus from Egypt is the main event we usually tell about the Passover story. However, the Torah also makes a point to tell us how the Israelites prepared to make the monumental transition from slavery to freedom – and the uncertainty, fear and tremendous leaps of faith required to leave one life behind and begin another. 

Today, as our day to day quarantine routine may look the same, we can use this Passover celebration to open ourselves up to promises of change, as the Israelites did thousands of years ago. Without leaving Egypt just yet, we can still ready and reenergize ourselves by asking the big questions this moment asks of all of us:

  • What aspects of life are we ready to leave behind?
  • What lessons do we want to hold on to?
  • Who is at risk of getting left behind?
  • What if we can’t picture leaving yet? 
  • How will we know when we’re ready?
  • Where are we even going? 
  • What’s next for us?

Like the story of Passover, our journey out of our own Egypts will also have miracles and challenges we’ll never be able to adequately plan for. That’s why GatherDC is excited to offer opportunities to ground ourselves for Passover and the expected and unexpected changes that are coming our way. 

We’ll use Jewish tradition’s formative story of liberation to guide us in the weeks and days leading up to Passover to think about the lives we hope to recreate and the society we want to rebuild. This way, we can face whatever comes with flexibility, mutual support, renewed energy and courage

This year, by preparing for our exodus, we can make our newfound freedoms mean something.



About the author: Rabbi Ilana Zietman is GatherDC’s Community Rabbi. She loves meeting new people and creating real and meaningful connections with them. When Rabbi Ilana isn’t officially Gathering, she can be found cooking in her kitchen, practicing yoga, going on hikes, and desperately searching for good pizza in DC (seriously, help her find some!).




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