Shalit protest - Tomer Appelbaum
Five-minute silence for Gilad Shalit in Jerusalem’s Paris Square, March 15, 2011. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum
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We raise this cup to coming home, and to those who cannot.

We raise this cup to the freedom that comes of true shelter, a shelter where we share warmth and safety, ordeals and laughter, memory and hopes. The one place in this world where we are allowed to be, in every sense, ourselves.

We were homeless in Egypt. All of us. Even if every one of us were wise, all of us understanding, all of us elders and deeply versed in knowledge of Torah, we would still need to feel something of what it is to be without a home, unable to return.

We raise this cup to coming home. We lift this cup to Gilad Shalit, and to all of those forbidden from their loved ones, imprisoned beyond our sight, beyond our imagination, in dark and bitter and unending exile.

We raise this cup to the home of the Lord and of all peoples, which is Jerusalem, this enlarged, three-dimensional view of the human heart, built of walls but also of gates.

We raise this cup to the opening of gates.

On this night we are commanded to share our home. On this night we are commanded to share. On this night we learn, as we once did as children, that sharing entails work and sacrifice and risk and compromise.

We learn, as we once did as children, that in sharing our home, no one gets everything, but everyone, every one, gets more than they had before.

We raise this cup to a Jerusalem truly rebuilt, a Jerusalem truly shared, a Jerusalem of gates opened, of hearts mended, of exile ended. We lift this cup to a Jerusalem which is for every one of us, a shared and therefore, at long last, a true home.