Avdim Hayinu, We Were Slaves in the Land of Egypt

Dear friends,

According to multiple organizations, there were 46 million people enslaved in 2016, with an estimated 18.3 million of those in India “Andrew Forest puts world’s richest countries on notice: Global Slavery Index.” (Sydney Morning Herald. Australia. Fairfax. 31 May 2016.)

As we sit down at our Seder meals this month we would do well to remind ourselves and others that slavery is not an ancient crime, but alive and well around the world and even in “the land of the free!” Estimates arrange from 27,000 to 60,000 in the United States.

The Sage in Pirke Avot, ethics of the fathers commented, “It is not the interpretations we offer that are essential but the deeds we perform.” In the midst of our imbibing and fressing and blessing we ought “walk the walk” and not merely “talk the talk.” I urge you to read up on slavery around the world and in America. One such organization among a staggering number among dozens upon dozens devoted to ending trafficking, forced labor etc is The Exodus Road

Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, The Exodus Road supports active operatives in India and southeast Asia, primarily in Thailand, and in the United States. As of December 31, 2015, The Exodus Road claims to have directly supported 667 rescues, made 191 arrests, works with a total of 201 operatives, and operates in 4 countries. The Exodus Road’s web site states that it is not a faith-based organization. Another site which features an incredible number of similar efforts can be found on Alliance Against Modern Slavery.

Here is a short list of American charities to which you can contribute and help turn the idealized words into idealized actions:

United States Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking LA

Free The Slaves

Girls Education and Mentoring Services (GEMS)

Historians Against Slavery

Invisible Children


Not For Sale

Polaris Project

Tronie Foundation

Motivating, Inspiring, Supporting and Serving Sexually Exploited Youth (MISSEY)

Wishing you a sweet Passover

The Diary of Ann Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank

Performed at Foothills Playhouse in Easley

Sunday, March 26 at 3:00 pm

If you would like to join the Rabbi, please contact him so that he can get the tickets. School children will have a pizza lunch after religious school, and then there will be a carpool leaving from the temple at 1:30 pm. Please be on time! If you would like to meet us at the playhouse, the directions are below.
Take I-85 South toward Greenville—Take exit 40 toward Easley onto SC-153 N(Highway 153)5.7 mi—Take ramp onto Calhoun Memorial Hwy (US-123)2.4 mi/ – Keep right onto Main St (SC-93)2.3 mi—Continue on W Main St (SC-93)0.3 mi/ – Turn left onto Folger Ave 0.1 mi/ – Turn left onto Gulf St 278 ft—Arrive at Gulf St. Your destination is on the right—201 S 5th St, Easley, SC 29640-2825

Save the Dates!

Movie Night: Saturday, March 18 at 7:00 pm, Woman in Gold

Sunday School: Sunday, March 19 beginning at 9:30 am with Hebrew.

Hebrew School: Wednesday, March 22 at 3, 4, and 5:00 pm

Kabbalat Shabbat: Friday, March 24 at 5:30 with wine and cheese

Saturday Service: March 25 at 9:30 am

Sunday School: Sunday, March 26 beginning at 9:30 am with Hebrew.

Anne Frank Play: Sunday, March 26, leave the temple at 1:30 to carpool.

Hebrew School: Wednesday, March 29 at 3, 4, and 5:00 pm

Kabbalat Shabbat: Friday, March 31 at 5:30 with wine and cheese


Message from our Rabbi

Dear friends,

After my clip-on sunglasses finally broke apart, I went to amazon.com and secured a new kind of sunglasses that fit neatly over your regular eyeglasses. Putting them on for the first time I was quite disappointed to see that I could not see all that well. The view in front of me was quite fuzzy. Shifting the sunglasses to and fro, up and down, I hoped the fuzziness would go away. Alas it did not! As I was preparing to send them back to amazon, the thought occurred to me that the front of their lenses might have a protective piece of cellophane. Sure enough that was the reason my vision was impaired.

Our holiday of Purim famous for the wearing of masks coincides with the theme of hiding one’s identity. Esther, the heroine of our tale, hid her Jewish identity until Uncle Mordecai said to her: “Do not imagine that you in the King’s palace can escape any more than all the Jews. ” (Esther 4: 13) The name Esther itself, is from the Hebrew meaning “the one who hides!”

We are bid to unmask ourselves and be true to our inner identity, be it in our relationship to family, friends or our people. So often we pretend to be someone else, but as the story of Esther bids us to use a more modern saying. “You can run, but you can’t hide!” This is the time to take off the cellophane and allow ourselves to better see our own authentic selves as Jews and as human beings.
I look forward to our Purim celebration this Saturday afternoon beginning at five.

Chag Sameach.

Rabbi Yossi J. Liebowitz D.D.