Torah For Today: Freedom Day

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Torah For Today: Freedom Day

Rabbi Garry Wayland looks at a topical issue and delves into the Jewish texts for a response

Monday marks the day nearly all legal restrictions relating to the pandemic will be lifted in England, moving us from a realm of legal demands to personal responsibility.

For many, Freedom Day has been a long while in the making: casting off draconian measures, imposed in a rash response to a crisis, that have come at an immense economic and personal cost. 

Others remain nervous, such as those with compromised immune systems, those who are still suffering the terrible consequences of the virus, or those who want to still be cautious without fear of rebuke from others. 

This Sunday marks Tisha B’Av, the mournful fast day on which we commemorate the destruction of the Temple and many other Jewish tragedies. 

Almost like a ‘festival of disconnect’, the 25-hour fast and its mourning restrictions, such as sitting on the floor and not greeting others, is a reminder we are so far away from what should be normative Jewish life. 

Tisha B’Av, however, is not an end in itself. The coming days harken the arrival of the Jewish month of Ellul, known in Chasidic literature as the month when the ‘King is in the field’, with the daily blast of the shofar and extra prayers to prepare us for the New Year and the Days
of Awe. 

Freedom has to be purposeful: we need to be ‘free from’ but also ‘free to’ do things. 

God did not merely give us our liberty from Egypt,
He made us free and redeemed us. He gave us the framework in which to be free to live meaningful lives, but also to redeem ourselves and society around us. 

Much will change in the world due to Covid. We hope and pray the freedoms we have should be appreciated for what they really are: to imbue our lives with purpose, caring for those around us and helping make society
better for all. 

Rabbi Garry Wayland is a teacher and educator for US Living and Learning

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: