During Passover we fulfill the injunction to remember the Exodus of our ancestors from Egypt. But this entails more than just recalling the hardships of slavery and the euphoria of escaping bondage; we are also called upon to think meaningfully about what we do with our freedom. In his recently published, posthumous book, “Why Be Jewish?”, the late philanthropist Edgar Bronfman – a devoted servant of the Jewish people and one of the founders of 70 Faces Media – sets out 12 actions that he sees as fundamental to living a Jewish life:
1. Revere godliness: the true, the good, and the beautiful
2. Ask questions
3. Commit to repairing the outer and inner world
4. Perform acts of loving-kindness
5. Assist society’s weakest members
6. Champion social justice and environmental causes
7. Welcome the stranger
8. Engage with Jewish traditions, texts, philosophy, history, and art
9. Study and strive for excellence in the humanities and other secular fields
10. Promote family and community
11. Embrace key Jewish holidays and life-cycle events
12. Conduct business ethically
Edgar believed deeply in the power of joint Jewish text study to elevate ourselves and strengthen our bonds with one another. In that spirit, we invite you to use this list as a starting-off point for discussion at your seder table.
Which of these actions resonate with you and why?
Are there any that you reject?
What is missing from the list?
From the book “Why Be Jewish: A Testament.” Copyright (c) 2016 by WBJ Publications, LLC. Reprinted with permission of Twelve/Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved.