This year as we consider our freedom we are mindful of the blight of mass incarceration both in this country and in Israel. When God took us out of Egypt, that freed us from external oppression. But we were not truly free until we stood at Har Sinai and became free to build our lives together in community. This year, we want to consider those who are not free in our two countries: the US and Israel. We want to think about those who have been locked away in prison, and ask, is this really what it means to live in a free country? Why does the United States have the highest level of incarceration in the world? Why are 1,800 African refugees being held indefinitely in Israeli jail without charge? Does my freedom really require their incarceration? As we say, ‘it is enough' this year, we are mindful of those whom our society is failing; those who have been treated as disposable, those for whom it is manifestly not enough. We want to raise questions about the culture of incarceration in our communities, and we want to say that no one can be thrown away without hurting all of us. Emma Lazarus, the American Jewish author, poet, and prophetic voice of the 19th century, wrote: "Until we are all free, we are none of us free." May it be that next year, we shall - all of us - be free!
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