Passover During Plague

We’re entering our second Passover during the coronavirus pandemic. The story of Passover, told through a Seder, is about the emancipation of the Jews, and celebrates the freedom of all people. It’s a voice against persecution, and a celebration of the human spirit. The story includes plagues: blood, frogs, bugs, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, death of firstborns. That’s ten.

Today, We The People have our own cluster of plagues: the coronavirus — isolation — white supremacy — hatred and rage targeting Asians and Pacific Islanders — violence against #BlackLivesMatter — families living in such unimaginable desperation that they send their children to flood our borders — voter suppression — homelessness — poverty — educational inequality — hunger — an environment and climate that people have stretched to the point of breaking — lack of mental and physical health care — oppression and violence toward the LGBTQ+ community — sexual harassment and assault — school shootings — gun violence. That’s more than ten, and the list goes on. 

As a psychologist of 20+ years and as a person of 60+ years, I’ve witnessed the astonishing human capacity to heal from terrible injury. I’ve also seen the astonishing human capacity to cause those terrible injuries. Our country is at a crucial juncture. Too many have lost their moorings, swept up in currents of power at the expense of decency, driven by rage rather than by common sense. They don’t realize that their own corruption is another plague, causing damage not only to others, but to themselves as well.  

I look forward to the day when COVID-19 is under control, and my home can return to being a comfortable and safe place to host a Seder. Until then, I’m inviting each and all, every religion, to join together from our separate places, uniting against our plagues. 

Next Year In Jerusalem.


Amy Kaufman Burk is a therapist-turned-author in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Amy’s first novel, Hollywood High: Achieve The Honorable, follows Caroline Black through tenth grade, in a school with over forty languages spoken among the students. The story deals with homophobic bullying, racial and economic diversity, the power of friendship — and was written in gratitude to Hollywood High School with its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Amy’s second novel, Tightwire, follows a fictional psychotherapy from three perspectives — the rookie therapist scrambling to build a treatment — the patient struggling to heal — the supervisor guiding the young therapist through the complex emotional terrain of her first case. This novel was written to fight the stigma of mental issues, and with deep respect for the human capacity to heal.

Click here to purchase one of Amy’s novels, to read reviews, to check out the first few chapters.

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