By Simon Rocker
April 8, 2009
Here's a nice Pesach tale from Rabbi Mark Winer, of West London Synagogue, who told it in a sermon given to the recent World Union of Progressive Judaism conference in Israel:
"One of my favourite stories of our Progressive Jewish impact on the world around us comes from Michael Farbman. During the three years that he was our Progressive rabbi in Sha'arei Shalom in St Petersburg, Michael and Olga sent their son Samuel to a regular state-supported school.
"Invariably, Samuel was the only Jewish child in the class. One year just before Pesach, Michael and Olga paid a special visit to Samuel's teacher in school, to explain that during the week of Pesach, Samuel would be eating only matzah. The teacher requested that Michael and Olga bring in a box of matzah a week before Pesach, so that all of the children in Samuel's class could sample matzah.
"After tasting our "bread of affliction," the children in Samuel's class voted unanimously that in solidarity with their friend and classmate Samuel, they would all eat only matzah during Pesach. That is not the Russia any of us imagine... The next time you wonder what we are doing sponsoring Progressive synagogues in the former Soviet Union, think of that story."