This week, two religions celebrate major holidays.
The Jewish holiday of Passover began Monday evening and continues until the evening of Tuesday, April 22.
The holiday celebrates the release of Jews as slaves in ancient Egypt. God sent forth 10 plagues on the Egyptians to force them to release the Jews. When Pharaoh ignored the first nine, the most devastating plague - killing all firstborn children - was visited upon Egypt.
Jewish families were told to mark the entrances to their homes in lamb's blood, and thus they were "passed over" by the plague. The death of the Egyptian children broke Pharaoh's resistance and the Exodus began.
Today, Passover commemorates and celebrates that freedom.
Christians regard this - the week of Easter - as Holy Week. Friday is Good Friday, marking the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Sunday, of course, is Easter - the day Christ rose from the grave.
The story of Easter is the basis of Christianity. While Christ's birthday may be a bigger commercial holiday - Christmas - Easter is the raison d'etre for the religion named for him. Christ's resurrection is the promise of eternal life.
Our country has a rich Judeo-Christian heritage. Many of the families of our forebears came to the United States to escape religious persecution. Now we live in a nation where two distinct religions - and many others - celebrate their foundations and traditions openly.
There is much to be joyous about this week. To our Jewish and Christian readers, Happy Holidays.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.