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Adult Education - Sacred Text: Zionism & Pesach - Our Feast of Freedom

Monday, April 11, 2022 10 Nisan 5782

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMZOOM ONLY

Zionism and Pesach: Our Feast of Freedom: 

Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky (1880-1940) was a Zionist activist, soldier, orator, writer and poet; he was founder of the Jewish Legion during World War I and he was the undisputed source of inspiration to many thousands of Jewish youths, particularly in Eastern Europe.

Jabotinsky was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Odessa, and he had no “inner contact” with Jewish cultural tradition during his youth. In 1903, when a pogrom threatened to erupt in Odessa, Jabotinsky joined the initiators of a Jewish defense group. (That was the year that there was a pogrom in Kishinev.) After that he immersed himself in Zionist activities. He was a delegate to Zionist Congresses and the foremost Zionist lecturer and journalist in Russia until 1914. In 1920, he organized the Haganah (the forerunner of the Israeli Defense Forces) in Jerusalem.

Throughout the decades, Jabotinsky remained a passionate advocate of the need for a Jewish State, particularly one in Palestine. He was the first president of the New Zionist Organization, representing 713,000 voters, mostly from Eastern Europe. He forcefully supported “illegal” immigration into Palestine (especially 1936 and 1940). While trying to form a Jewish Army to fight the Nazis in 1940, he died suddenly of a heart attack.

In 1911, long before the Russian Revolution, Jabotinsky wrote an essay entitled “The Four Sons.” It is a powerful Zionist reading of the traditional passage from the Maggid section of the Haggadah that we read each year on the first nights of Pesach. We will read Jabotinsky’s essay and compare his description of the Four Sons, their questions and his fascinating answers, with their traditional counterparts found in the traditional Seder. Perhaps you will use this as a springboard for discussion around your seder table this year.

Mark Fasman is a retired rabbi who joined HEA near the beginning of our disruptive pandemic. (Those who were in the Sanctuary or streaming the Rosh Hashanah services heard him sound the shofar this year.) Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he holds a Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University (his principal performing medium is trumpet, hence the shofar!). After seventeen years as a Professor of Music at Minnesota State University (Moorhead), he and his wife Alice and son David moved to Los Angeles, where he was ordained in the first ordination class of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University in 1999). His first pulpit position was at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, followed by 14 years in St. Louis at Shaare Zedek Synagogue (now Kol Rinah). His last four years on the pulpit were at Congregation Temple Emanu-El in Reno (the oldest congregation in Nevada).


For scholarship information, contact Rabbi Grinsteiner at
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Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782