Had a fair legal system been in place in the Egypt of Moses' day, Rabbi Chesky Tenenbaum says, the ancient Israelites would never have been placed in bondage there, let alone compelled to flee their homes one fateful night some 3,300 years ago.

After that first Passover, he says, the Jewish people wasted little time creating a justice system of their own, with courts, judges, and an ancient version of police.

Such history helps explain why Tenenbaum, an Orthodox rabbi from Park Heights, created the Jewish Uniformed Services Association of Maryland, a support organization for Jewish members of the military and law enforcement — and why he's so looking forward to leading its first Passover seder when the Jewish holiday commences at sunset on Monday.

"There's a strong connection between the law enforcement and military communities and Passover itself," he says. "On Passover, we celebrate the Jewish people going out of Egypt — and in a larger sense, we celebrate religious freedom. Law enforcement and the military protect our freedom to worship as we choose."

Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, the senior rabbi of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Maryland, calls Tenenbaum's service to Jewish members of the uniformed services invaluable.

"He realizes that people who put their lives on the line ... have a depth of kinship that is difficult for civilians to appreciate fully," he says. "It's wonderful how he...read more at Baltimore Sun