Pope Francis I and Obama.
(photo credit: Illustrative photo)
Two leaders that have been in the limelight this month sent their thoughts to world Jewry on Monday, as both Pope Francis and US President Barack Obama wished their respective communities a happy Passover.
Pope Francis on Monday sent a brief note praying that God would bless Rome's Jewish community as it was about to begin its Passover observances, asking community members for their prayers, the Catholic News Service reported.
"May the Almighty, who freed his people from slavery in Egypt to guide them to the Promised Land, continue to free you from every evil and accompany you with his blessing," the pope said in a message.
The pope thanked Chief Rabbi of Rome Riccardo di Segni, for attending his inaugural Mass last week and a meeting with religious leaders.
"I am particularly pleased to extend to you and the entire Rome community my most fervent wishes for the great Passover feast," the pope said.
"I ask you to pray for me, while I assure you of my prayers for you, trusting that we can deepen the bonds of esteem and mutual respect," the pope added.
Rabbi di Segni responded on the website of Rome's Jewish community, saying that he appreciated the message and planned to reply to wish the pope and the Christians of Rome a happy Easter, the Catholic News Service reported.
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle sent "warmest wishes to all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world," as his family prepared for their fifth Seder in the White House.
"Passover is a celebration of the freedom our ancestors dreamed of, fought for, and ultimately won," Obama said in a statement.
Following his first visit to Israel as president
, Obama reminded the world that "responsibility does not end when we reach the promised land, it only begins."
The American president stated that on his trip, he had the chance to speak with young Israelis who saw "how the dream of true freedom found its full expression in those words of hope from Hatikvah," Obama continued in Hebrew, "To be a free people in our land."
"As my family and I prepare to once again take part in this ancient and powerful tradition, I am hopeful that we can draw upon the best in ourselves to find the promise in the days that lie ahead, meet the challenges that will come, and continuing the hard work of repairing the world," he said.
The Hebrew parts of his speech rallied great enthusiasm in Israel during his visit, and in his statement on Passover, Obama sought to maintain this support, wishing "all those celebrating Passover here in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world" a Chag sameach