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Open Doors

This month, a new coalition government begins its work in Israel. Optimists hope for a new politics; cynics tell us nothing's ever going to change. But something has already changed. Sections of Israeli society that had gotten used to talking only to themselves are talking to each other. A conversation has resumed about Israel's future.

In his (1958) essay, "two concepts of liberty," Isaiah Berlin notes the cost of self-imposed segregation:

If I save myself from an adversary by retreating indoors and locking every entrance and exit, I may remain freer than if I had been captured by him, but ... [if] I contract myself into too small a space, I shall suffocate and die.

In the traditional Passover Seder, doors are opened twice: once, near the start, to invite in the needy; and again, near the end, when we pray for the destruction of our enemies. Such is the nature of doors. They make possible all kinds of movement: entrances and exits; invitations and threats.

May we have the confidence, on this Protected Night, to open doors to people and ideas we had previously locked out. And may this Festival of Freedom be, for us all, a time to celebrate the public spaces we share.

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