Natan Sharansky: Despite coronavirus, Jews are connected

Ahead of the Jewish people’s first “coronavirus Passover,” the legendary hero shares a message of hope

Natan Sharansky (photo credit: GENESIS PRIZE FOUNDATION)
Natan Sharansky
(photo credit: GENESIS PRIZE FOUNDATION)
In the shadow of the coronavirus, Natan Sharansky, a man who spent nine years incarcerated as a Prisoner of Conscience – much of it in solitary confinement – says that this Passover is an opportunity for the Jewish people to feel connected.
“We will meet without grandchildren, without our big families, without our friends, I have to tell you it is a great opportunity to feel connected, Sharansky,  this year’s Genesis Prize Laureate, said. 
In a video message, the legendary advocate for freedom, democracy and human rights talks about how he once had his Passover Seder in a “punishing cell,” where he was served nothing but three pieces of dry bread and three cups of water per day.

“I decided my three cups of water would be my wine and my three pieces of dry bread would be my matza,” Sharansky recalled. “And my salt would be my maror,” bitter herbs.
“I found out that this is the great place to feel the unique struggle of the Jewish people – to be connected with every Jew in the world,” he continued, “and to enjoy thinking that this year we are slaves and next year we free people in Jerusalem.”
Sharansky was awarded the Genesis Prize because of his extraordinary lifelong struggle for political and religious freedoms, emphasizing the relevance of his work in today’s world. Passover is a celebration, he notes, of the Jews' freedom from Egypt. 
This year, as the Jewish people endures the challenges of this coronavirus Passover, we can be “thinking about our great journey together, and about new challenges that we face together, and we will win together.”