Easter and Passover evoke a recurring message of sorrow, hope and rebirth. Each year, amid the chaos of the moment, these important holy days serve as a much-needed touchstone, a reminder that the tragedies and triumphs of human existence are inextricably intertwined.
This season finds us embracing our victorious troops after a mercifully brief war in Iraq even as that war-ravaged nation disintegrates into an abattoir of wanton killing and human suffering. Factional violence continues to claim lives in South Africa amid real and sustained progress toward the sunset of apartheid. The dominions of Eastern Europe struggle with a bittersweet legacy of freedom and strife after the collapse of the Soviet empire.
At home, the unspeakably brutal beating of a black traffic offender at the hands of a mob of Los Angeles police officers has riveted the attention of a nation, sending the sad but unmistakable message that racism and abuse of police power live on in America. Despair walks the streets clothed in the ragged garb of the homeless. Too many of our children live in a world defined by drugs, guns and hopelessness. Too many of our babies survive malnourishment and neglect in the womb only to succumb to death before their first birthday.