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We enter our spring festival of Passover in uncertain times. This is a shared season of festivals for both us and our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world. During this time, we reflect on themes of hope and liberation from our myriad struggles.

It is with great sadness that we recognize the loss of life of many Egyptian Christians over the weekend, who shared our mutual hope to live in a world where swords are beaten into ploughshares. Our greatest prophet, Moshe was raised in the Egyptian courts and our greatest sage, Maimonides wrote his most famous works from what is now Cairo. The congregants of Temple Beth Ora mourn the great loss of life that occurred in Alexandria and Tanta and pray for the many injured to recover speedily and completely.

The Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, similar to the word maitzar, which means narrowness. Narrowness of mind can enslave and entrap the best of us. On this night of Pesach, as we sit around the seder table, we liberate ourselves by choosing to be open-minded and welcoming. We overcome narrowness when we reach out to one another in peace, so that we may understand our differences and celebrate our similarities.

We pray for the health, peace, and reconciliation of our nations and the wisdom and kindness needed to move this forward. May all be welcome and all embrace the ideals of אל אשי יוג לא יוג ברח, and may we not know war anymore.

J. Spencer Brawner

President, Temple Beth Ora