At Passover, the battle was with Egyptians; currently the enemy is ISIS

The Humanistic Jewish Havurah invites you, your family and friends to join us for our Passover Seder beginning promptly at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11 at the Bonita Bay Club, 26660 Club Drive, Bonita Springs. We celebrate by reading our Humanist Haggadah followed by a traditional Passover menu. A reservation form is available on our website ( to be completed and mailed with your payment to secure a seat at this event. The cost is $75 per person; $25 for children under 13. Contact Dena Sklaroff for further information at 239.591.0101.

The Exodus story reminds us that every human being desires to live freely and with dignity. Modern people understand that release from formal servitude is not the same as true freedom. In the traditional story, the Hebrews pass from one authoritarian situation into another. Moses is no less dictatorial than Pharaoh, although his dictatorship is less offensive because he is Jewish. Moses issues laws in the name of a divine authority. This neither provides for individual liberty nor allows public challenge. Conformity, humility and obedience are virtues of the theocratic system.

Passover presents us with an opportunity to explore evolving ideas of freedom. What constitutes true freedom in our day? How can we balance it with responsibility? How might we work to bring liberty to the millions of people who do not enjoy the right to pursue their won paths to meaning and happiness?

These are some of the questions that we might ask on this night of questions. They do not require our Passover story to be true, but they are raised when our story is told.

Today a different enemy concerns us. ISIS threatens the liberties of many in the Middle East, but has also become a threat in Africa, Europe and even appears to influence some in the United States.

On Sunday afternoon, April 23, the Havurah hosts Thomas L. Eastwood, who will speak about “A Strategy for Defeating ISIS.” We meet in the David G. Willens Community Room at the Jewish Federation of Collier County office, 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 2201, Naples. We will begin with “coffee ’n chat” at 1:30 p.m. with the program starting promptly at 2:00 p.m.

To attend this event, it is necessary to make a reservation with Dena Sklaroff at or 239.591.0101.

Mr. Eastwood began his law enforcement career with the U.S. Treasury’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms before transferring as a special agent, and later as an executive with the Department of Defense, where for 15 years he conducted and led counterintelligence, security and criminal investigations. He was trained by and worked on joint investigations with many agencies including ATF, CIA, DEA, DoJ, FBI, IRS, Secret Service, and U.S. military and foreign intelligence agencies. At his retirement, he was serving as Director of the IRS in Michigan, and had previously served in this position in Milwaukee, Louisville and Fargo. In his current career, Eastwood bills himself as lecturer, consultant and “Edutainer.” Locally, he has lectured at FGCU, Renaissance, Shell Point, and for the Bonita Bay Community Association, to great acclaim.

ISIS is a serious national and international threat that requires everyone to seek expert information. Our speaker claims to have no political agenda, but rather seeks to give us a clear understanding of ISIS, analyze past strategies, and then give us a clearer understanding of what may the best means for defeating this menace.