Passover and Easter are, in many ways, the defining holidays for Jews and Christians, respectively. Yet with all of their differences, there is something profoundly similar, and profoundly American, about both of these holidays. That something is freedom.

Freedom is probably the thing which most of us hold sacred as the most American of values. Our founding stories are freedom stories and our greatest moments as a nation are moments of securing greater freedom for ourselves and for the world. Perhaps that is why Passover is the most celebrated holiday among American Jews, and one which is increasingly interesting to others as well.

The exodus from Egypt is one of those stories which inspires people whether they are Jewish or not, whatever their race or ethnicity may be, and it has been that way for a very long time. In fact, the Bible reports that a “mixed multitude” left Egypt with the ancient Israelites. Freedom was not simply for the members of a particular tribe, nor was it offered only to the righteous. Passover celebrates the notion that freedom is a right, while recognizing that rights are not always free.

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