Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
Grammy-worthy talent coming to 45th Sunset Concert Series beginning June 13
By Christi Mathis, SIU Communications • May 21, 2024

It’s the 45th season for one of Southern Illinois’ favorite summer traditions – the Sunset Concert Series – and this year’s exciting...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Salukis split doubleheader, advance to first Regional final since 2003
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 18, 2024

The SIU softball team is headed to its second-ever NCAA Regional final after beating California in back-to-back days in the Baton Rouge Regional...

Saluki softball huddles together before facing the California Golden Bears in the first round of the NCAA Regional May 17, 2024 at Tiger Park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Photo provided by Saluki Athletics
Groff twins, defense send SIU to NCAA regional semifinals
By Ryan Grieser, Sports Reporter • May 17, 2024

Defense was the name of the game Friday as the SIU softball team took down the Cal Bears in the first round of NCAA Regionals in Baton Rouge,...

Letter to the editor: A Rabbi’s message on Gaza

Letter+to+the+editor%3A+A+Rabbi%E2%80%99s+message+on+Gaza
Brian Muñoz

Imagine someone who lives all alone, with no connection to the outside world. One bright sunny day, in the middle of the afternoon, the skies grow dark and the sun is completely covered up. Not comprehending what’s going on, this person is understandably very frightened. If they would’ve known about the total solar eclipse, they would understand that it’s not scary, it’s an opportunity to discover and appreciate heretofore unknown sights of our good ol’ sun. Having the right knowledge is key to understanding your surroundings.

While watching the eclipse on my own front lawn, surrounded by family and friends, I invariably had to think back to another moment when my world temporarily went black. Six months earlier, on October 7, my nation was attacked. Then too, and sometimes still now, it seemed like it would be dark forever. But the darkness is just temporary, and with the right kind of glasses, can be a chance to see goodness and kindness unfold in so many areas.

Next week, starting April 22, Passover will be celebrated by Carbondale and SIU’s Jewish community, who will join family and community Passover Seders–the festive ritual-filled dinner on the first two nights of the eight-day holiday.

Advertisement

Passover celebrates the miraculous exodus of the Jewish people from slavery in Ancient Egypt some 3,330 years ago and is traditionally celebrated together with family and friends, making it the most observed Jewish holiday in the United States.

Post October 7, many questions come to mind. How can we celebrate a holiday of freedom when over 130 hostages are still being held in Hamas captivity? How can we celebrate with family as thousands of families have been torn apart by this war? How can we conduct joyous Seders in light of rising antisemitism? When the world seems to condemn the Jewish state for protecting its citizens in the aftermath of an attack which killed the most Jews in one day since the Holocaust. When Jews were butchered, burned, raped, and tortured, just because they were Jewish.

I’m not the first rabbi to have this conundrum. Throughout the ages, the Jewish people have suffered persecution, from the hands of the Ancient Egyptians to the Crusaders, from the Assyrian-Greek empire to the Nazis. Yet we have always celebrated Passover and have always joyfully continued being proud Jews. As we traditionally say at the Seder: “For not just one alone has risen against us to destroy us, but in every generation they rise against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hand!”

My mentor and teacher – the Rebbe — Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, whose leadership inspired the founding of Chabad of Carbondale and SIU, taught us that a little bit of light can overcome a lot of darkness. Ultimately, by illuminating our own corner of the world, we can actually impact events on the other side of the world, through going out of our way to share kindness, and respect in the face of horror, malice and evil.

During past conflicts in the Land of Israel, and during other times of danger for the Jewish people, the Rebbe, made practical suggestions of mitzvahs to elicit Gd’s protection.

Among them are coming together in unity for prayer, men putting on tefillin, women to light Shabbat candles, putting a mezuzah on one’s doors, giving charity and doing acts of kindness, and studying Torah. These acts must be proportionate to the hate and evil.

Here in Carbondale, I have seen an increased awaking among the Jewish community over the past 6 months. Individuals, both Jewish and non-Jewish alike, have come over to offer support and prayers, and everyone wants to be able to have a positive effect on the world.

Advertisement*

We want to focus on the positivity. All of the programs we’ve hosted the past 6 months, have been dedicated to the safety and security of the Jewish people in Israel, around the world and for peace in the world. We’ve done that by emphasizing the three pillars of Prayer, Charity and Torah study.

 This Friday, April 19 marks 122 years since the Rebbe’s birth. Since 1978, the President of the USA designates the Rebbe’s birthday as Education and Sharing Day U.S.A.

In 2023 President Biden wrote: “The Rebbe told us, “We must translate pain into action and tears into growth.” That is what education makes possible. Children are the kite strings that hold our national ambitions aloft — everything America will be tomorrow depends on how we deliver for our young people today. So let us remember his teachings. Let us prepare our children to be tolerant, curious, and moral, ensuring that they lift up others as they rise.”

This is the message we want to share with the community. Do another act of kindness, and let’s educate our children with values of ethics and morality.

Ahead of Passover we are seeing an increased interest in celebrating this year. Our goal is to lower the barriers to Jewish engagement and ensure everyone feels welcome and included, and has the opportunities and resources they need to celebrate the holiday.

In the 1960s and 1970s there was a movement calling for adding an empty chair and setting aside an extra matzah at the Seder table as a stark reminder of the 3 million Soviet Jews who were not free to attend a Seder.

The Rebbe, however, was not pleased with this suggestion. “So you have an empty chair…. Go out into the street where you live, and find Jews who don’t know how to celebrate the Seder, or don’t even know what a Seder is, and sit them down at your Seder table!”

When we celebrate freedom, we will bring freedom to the hostages.

When we celebrate with family, we will help bring families together.

When we share joy and positivity, we will bring much needed joy and happiness to the world.

The great Jewish Rabbi and philosopher Maimonides teaches us that we should view the world as a balanced scale. On one side are all our collective merits, and on the other side are our collective failings. “If one performs one good deed, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others.”

While the world turned dark for a few minutes, the sun was shining brightly all along. We wore the safety glasses because of the sun’s bright rays. At times it feels that we are engulfed in darkness, we see war, hatred, bigotry, poverty etc. But the eclipse reminds us, there is a bright future ahead of us, a time of world peace, a world of tolerance, and a pursuit of righteousness.

All it takes is one action, one good word or one positive thought that can tip the scale and bring salvation to us all.

 

Advertisement

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

All The Daily Egyptian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • G

    G.M.Apr 22, 2024 at 9:39 pm

    “When Jews were butchered, burned, raped, and tortured, just because they were Jewish.” These are dangerous, racist, fascist-fueled lies that the Daily Egyptian is allowing to be published. Should be sued for journalistic malpractice. Shame on you. The UN and other independent organization investigated those allegations that the apartheid state of Israel made and discovered that they were misinformation and lies. Disappointing to see a local journalistic source I once looked up to partake in the disgusting, dangerous rise in misinformation being spread for the last few years. The rise of anti-semitism and anti-semitic views is real and it is terrifying. How dare you not publish more articles and provide more public education on the true source of where this rise is coming from. It is coming from white Christian Nationalists and other alt-right individuals who sympathize with the ideology of facism and white supremacy.

    Reply
  • M

    MICHAEL PiersonApr 18, 2024 at 10:41 am

    I agree with continuing to rejoice and celebrate the Pasover. As a Christian I do want to learn more about Jewish Traditions and incorporate them into my family’s activities. Love is the key to true happiness. Thanks for sharing

    Reply