As we look ahead to the beginning of Passover, I want to share a bit of JDC history.
Tomorrow – the eve of Passover – is the seventy-sixth anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. In 1943, April 19 was the night of the first seder, just as it is this year. Seventy-six years ago, a band of brave Jews made a last stand against the murderous Nazi regime. They launched this historic act of resistance on the same night that they celebrated the miracle of Passover.
As members of the JDC family, we should remember the role JDC played in the ghetto. A JDC professional named Isaac Giterman played a key role in planning the uprising, and also helped fund the weapons used to launch it. Another JDC colleague, Emanuel Ringelblum, created a secret archive memorializing Nazi brutality in the ghetto. Buried in aluminum crates, the archive was recovered after the war, and provides detailed evidence about life in the ghetto, including JDC’s role in running soup kitchens and providing other social services.
On Passover, we are commanded to tell the Passover story as if we personally were there. I believe this personal connection is meant to encourage each of us to recommit to the ideals of freedom and justice motivating the Jewish people during the exodus.
In the same way, the JDC family also should remember the heroism and sacrifice of Jews in the Ghetto. We should remember their sacrifice as if we also were there. As we address the challenges of our own time, we need to show the same resourcefulness and determination, and to advance the same ideals of freedom and justice.
As stewards of JDC’s sacred mission, you live and breathe those ideals every day. On behalf of our clients across the globe, I thank you all for everything you do.
Chag Kasher v’sameach to all.
David M. Schizer
CEO, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)