Tuesday, April 10, 2007


In thinking about "The Exodus" from Egypt at Pesach/Passover one is reminded that the Jews have had many exoduses (or is it exodi). In fact our history is replete with them. There were numerous expulsions from various European countries, from Britain in 1290, from Spain in 1492, Lithuania in 1496, and from much of Russia in the 1870s, and so on. Such were the forced migrations of those Jews who survived these expulsions. But, the original Exodus was voluntary.
There are two exoduses that have greatly influenced our current situation, that of the Jewish refugees from Tsarist and then Bolshevik Russia in the years from 1880 until the 1920's. Among them were included about 2.5 million Jews who emigrated to the US and about 500,000 who emigrated to Western Europe (Britain, France, Holland, etc.) and Palestine. My father's family was among those who fled Ukraine/Russia in 1905 to escape pogroms and landed in London. I'm very grateful for that, but it was quite random, any safe port in a storm.
Then there was the exodus from the Nazis in the 1930s, that involved Jews migrating all over Europe and beyond. Jews who escaped Germany or Poland went to France or Holland and from there the lucky ones, including Naomi's grandparents, managed to get into Britain before WWII actually started. The rest were trapped because they had no visas, not enough money to bribe the necessary guards, or trusted their fellow Hungarians, Czechs, French, etc. not to harm them - vain hope.
We don't commemorate these exoduses, only the "original" one that brought us to our land. And here some of us have returned, never to leave again. Perhaps it shouldn't be called Exodus at all, but rather in contrast to these other historical Jewish movements, it should be called "Intrata," the Latin original of Entry. That would take the focus away from the country of exit and to that of entry, from Egypt to Israel, the promised land.


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