In this week’s parshah, Bo, we learn about the struggles of the Israelites attempting to leave Egypt as a community. Moses insisted that “with our youth and with our elders we will go, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our cattle we will go” (Ex. 10:9). We realize that the Israelites felt so strongly in keeping their community intact that they were not willing to leave anyone behind, including their flocks. No one was forgotten in Egypt and as “strangers in a strange land,” the importance of community is paramount.
This week, during our service in Maghrar, we are also experiencing the importance and strength of community as we work and live within the Druze community. Their unbeatable hospitality is matched by internal notions that they must try twice as hard to succeed compared to Jewish Israelis because of their minority status. As we share Shabbat with our local Druze leader Ameer, we as American Jews now have a developing view of what it means to be a community in Israel and understand that Judaism is not the defining aspect of what it means to be Israeli or to have a strong community in Israel.
This week’s parsha post was written by Evan Sheinhart, a participant on the Yahel – Insight program in Maghar with Umass Hillel. Evan will be studying at HUC Rabbinical school next year.