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Middle East MOMA Dispatch

"Flee to Egypt, and Stay There Until I Tell You:" Monica's Mom Weighs In
December 18, 1999


When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him." Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

- Matthew 2:13-15

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Hey, are we near the pyramids yet?
Hi, Monica's mom here, with her dad in Jerusalem. We hooked up with our favorite world traveler back in Cairo, Egypt, the biblical refuge of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus. Together, the three of us explored many religious and historically significant sights in Cairo- the Hanging Church, or Church of the Virgin, being one. This church is in the heart of Old Cairo, where many Egyptians have lived since the fourth century after the birth of Jesus. Close by is a cave where it is believed the poor Holy Family stayed while hiding from King Herod.
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We found them!
We found them!

Like Joseph and his family, many Jews during the time of Jesus fled their native lands for the relative safety of Egypt. People still flock here, and from all over the world, but for many different reasons. We came mainly as tourists in search of pyramids, especially the three famous ones on the Giza Plateau close to Cairo. But we were also treated to the Egyptian Museum's incredible collection of antiquities, where artifacts from the tomb of 18th Dynasty Egyptian King Tutankamen- a.k.a. King Tut- are on display!

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Checking out King Tut
Checking out King Tut

With Monica, her dad and I also visited Islamic Cairo, which easily became my favorite. This part of the city has been in existence since the Middle Ages and is so full of life! We window-shopped for beautiful Middle Eastern textiles, jewelry, and inlaid boxes, and dined on delicious kofta- pita bread, pickled vegetables, hummus, lamb meatballs and grilled beef. A young man we met told us that his mother was Filipino, making him an Egyptian-Filipino. Do you have any Egyptian-Filipino friends?

In addition of tourists, Egypt welcomes many scholars, called Egyptologists, who come to study the time when the Pharaohs ruled Egypt. Americans and Europeans also work here, and are known as expatriates. I also met a young Palestinian man going to school in Egypt- he will return to Palestine, a very dangerous part of the world.

Vocabulary Box

refuge - shelter or protection from danger and trouble
Egyptologist - someone who studies ancient egypt
expatriates - to withdraw from residence in one's country

As a mother, I can imagine the sacrifices his mother must have made to send him to school in Egypt. So many Palestinian mothers have lost their children because there is still no peace in this part of the world. At least in Cairo, for a few years anyway, this young man will be safe. I suppose his mother might feel similar to how Joseph must have felt when he brought his family to Egypt.

- Christine, Monica's mother

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Monica and her mom, Christine!