By JIMENA Founder, Joseph Abdelt Wahed Z”L
Today, as we celebrate the First Exodus from Egypt 5,000 years ago, let us also remember the Second Exodus of Jews that took place not so long ago but is unknown to many people.
In the years between 1945 and 1970, nearly one million Jews, indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, were brutally forced to leave the lands of their birth. Like their ancestors, they too left in a hurry and under similarly harsh conditions. They fled Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Aden, Tunisia and Iran. And “on the wings of Eagles”, Jews from Ethiopia also landed safely in Israel.
And so, on this sacred night, we must say a special prayer to these Forgotten Refugees because they are often left out during any mention in Middle East politics.
Therefore, with bitter herbs on your plate and a piece of matza in your hand, please recite the following:
We thank you G-d for delivering these Forgotten Jewish Refugees from their modern day pharaohs whose hearts were hardened and full of evil. Many of these Forgotten Refugees were harassed, intimidated, insulted simply because they were Jews, until they were forced to flee. They were made to live as strangers in their own countries and denied basic human and civil rights. They left behind their three thousand year old culture and heritage, their beautiful synagogues and sacred Torah’s, Jewish schools and hospitals, their homes and their personal belongings.
“But G-d heard their groaning and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He said unto the children of Israel: I am the Lord and I will bring you out from the burdens of the Egyptian (and from other tyrants) and redeem you with an outstretched and strong arm. So, as in the First Exodus, we thank the Lord for this Second Exodus that we are a free people and blessed with the presence of the land of Israel”.
“On this Passover and on every Passover in the future, when we eat matza and the bitter herbs, we must cherish the memories of our forgotten brothers and sisters. And as Jews, always yearning for the winds of freedom, we say to them: We Will Not Forget You.”