April 15, 2011

Passover, Jewish Easter and Other Fun Tales


Seder Plate photo

In just a few days Jews around the world will celebrate one the more significant holidays of the year, Pesach or Passover. It is an eight-day celebration, which, depending on your level of observance, can range from just attending a seder to fully engaging in extensive cleaning and blessings of your home. And, yes, Passover often falls around Easter. Whether intentional or coincidental, I’m not sure.

Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to experience Passover from different perspectives. Once I attended a talk about Passover at a local Christian church. My friend invited me and I figured, sure why not! No only did the speaker co-opt every Pesach tradition and give a Christian spin on it (as in, three matzahs equals the trinity) afterward they served cake. From Costco. During Passover. I got that they don’t really celebrate Passover but after going through 90+ minutes of discussion about the Passover traditions the least they could have done was server macaroons.

I’ve also had the pleasure of having my friend’s daughters explain Passover to me. As told to them by their Awana leaders. To say it was interesting, well, you decide. Evidently it was Christ, not Moses, who led the Jews out of Egypt. And during this Exodus Christ was killed by the Jews because they were just wandering around for too long. And the story goes on that the Christ convinced the Jews to let him have a final meal (the Last Supper) before killing him. Then upon his death there were plagues, one of which was rabbits (hence, Chocolate Bunnies!). I’m certain these children, ages 6, 7, and 9 at the time, may have dozed off at some point and needed to fill in what they missed. But they were so passionate about telling me about my holiday. And the youngest really wanted me to know that it’s OK that I don’t have the chocolate bunnies because ‘the Jewish stuff is only until he was killed and after that it’s Christian’. OK! Thank you kind 6-year old for clarifying that for me.

And just today I have the pleasure of overhearing a woman, a homeschooling Christian mom, refer to Passover as Jewish Easter. You may recall my discussion about Jewish Christmas and not wanting to give in to the commercialization of Hanukkah. And while Hanukkah isn’t even that major, it’s a festival, Passover is one of the biggies. And its story is important to Jews because it begins to define us as a people, a free people.

Jewish Easter, it is not. Given that Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ there is little similarity. And for a self-professed religious woman to attempt to define Passover in terms of her own religion was comical. And while she went on to describe this ‘Jewish Easter’ celebration as one that required ‘the Jews’ to eat crackers for a week, it took all I had not to interrupt her conversation to set the record straight. Oh, did I mention this all took place at the Jewish Community Center?

Yes, I was at the JCC minding my own business as BabyGirl took her swim lessons. It started innocently when one of the other moms asked me if swim is cancelled next week. I explained the JCC would be closed on Tuesday due to Passover, so yes, swim is cancelled. And it was another mom who took over the conversation to explain why the JCC would be closed.

In my younger and more militant years I probably would have intervened. Now, it’s blog fodder. It’s comic relief and a conversation with friends over Chocolate-Caramel Matzah Crunch or possibly my Kosher Easter Candy.



Ariana April 15, 2011 at 5:54 am

Oy, vey Sara!!! What a spin!!! Crackers for Jewish Easter ?!?!!?

Mara @ Kosher on a Budget April 15, 2011 at 7:52 am

Hahahhahahaha. These little stories were perfect comic relief from the boiling of the countertops! Chag Sameach, S!! xo

rhonda April 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

seems that people always want their own spin on things huh? never mind the importance of this holiday. how would they feel about putting a jewish spin onto Easter? bet you’d hear lots of complaining then. never mind that i am your christian sister, i don’t understand the stupidity around us. love ya

Li April 18, 2011 at 11:07 am

wow…Sara…um…you are a virtuous woman to have exercised that much patience. Kudos to you.

I don’t know much about religion. Not even my own. But I do know one thing – I know better than to talk about things I don’t know about.

I am Catholic (with Pentecostal influences and Buddhist influences), but I’m a cafeteria Catholic. I pick what I like from this religion and others, and incorporate it into my life. People don’t always like that, but they don’t have to. One thing is for sure: I will never try to explain something I know nothing about. My closest friend is Jewish so when I have a question, I talk to her (I don’t talk to my Jewish cousins about it because I think they’re on the Cafeteria line just like me).

What’s funny is my mom had a conversation with me about Passover yesterday too. She was watching a Jewish program and felt really inspred by it and wanted us to gather together for dinner yesterday…which is something we haven’t done in a while.

But I’m sorry you got to hear Passover being botched.


Honey April 19, 2011 at 11:14 pm

It is really sad that there is so much misinformation out there and people seem to speak it with such authority. Good job for you holding your tongue.


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