by Tamar Davis, CEO, Gateways
Before I share my message as usual, please share this moment with me to express our grief over the lives lost so tragically in Israel yesterday, to wish those physically injured a speedy recovery, and to continue praying for the safety of our families and friends in Israel.
I didn’t watch the entire Oscars program last week (the highlights or the lowlights!), but I was tracking one particular movie to find out if it won…CODA! This film, named for the anagram for “child of deaf adults,” is poignant, made all the more powerful because of the authenticity of the actors reflecting their lived experience with this disability in their roles. The highlight of the Oscars for me was seeing Troy Kotsur accept the award for Best Supporting Actor, becoming the first Deaf male actor to do so, and saying to the millions of people watching, “I just wanted to say that this is dedicated to the Deaf community, the CODA community, and the disabled community.” We were all part of this historic moment together.
We need more of these moments. And we have an opportunity to create one in Jewish households across the globe next Friday night, at our Seder. When we say the words, Ha lachma anya / All who are hungry, come eat, we are embodying the essence of inclusion. Yes, it is incumbent upon us to ensure no one goes hungry among us. Yet spiritually, it is incumbent upon us to ensure the same thing. At Gateways, we are feeding Jewish children and teens who hunger deeply to be part of Jewish life and learning.
A parent shared one moment with me that sticks out in my mind. Her son Danny, who was non-verbal and a wheelchair user and who passed away tragically last year, had attended our Sunday program in its early years. Danny’s mother showed me a photo of him where his hands were being washed in preparation for eating matzah at the Seder, and his face was lit up with joy.
All who are hungry, come eat! Come partake in one of our oldest and most cherished traditions, our Seder, where we tell our personal stories of redemption, where we are seen and heard, and can experience a sense of belonging.
Shabbat shalom and Chag kasher v’sameach — a happy Pesach,
Tamar Davis, Chief Executive Officer