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The Latest Ridiculous Holiday Shit: Eastover

God Help Us

Tablet Magazine just coined the latest, feel good, meaningless holiday ritual term: Eastover. Similar to “Chrismukkah,” this ritual combines a Christian and a Jewish holiday, namely Easter and Passover, in a completely meaningless and offensive way. The term was coined in a post noting a gift basket offered for sale by the Challah Connection, purveyors of fine “kosher” gift baskets. Their gift basket includes a Seder plate, matzah, and Kedem grape juice as well as pink-and-white cookies, jelly beans, and chocolate bunnies. The Challah Connection notes that the contents of this gift basket are not all kosher for Passover, but they did manage to source kosher chocolate bunnies, so that’s good.

I guess it’s nice that Jews and Christians can get together on Easter in a way that doesn’t involve, you know, the Jews getting raped and murdered. The term “pogrom” was first coined after a series of riots from 1881-1884 in Russia following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, which was blamed on Jews. The first large pogrom took place on April 15/16 April 1881, Eastern Orthodox Easter, in the city of Kirovograd. Easter 1903 also marked the date of the famous Kishinev pogrom, where a mob led by priests, screaming “Kill the Jews,” murdered 47 Jews. Witnesses described piles of corpses, and “Babies… literally torn to pieces by the frenzied and bloodthirsty mob.”

But, we’re not talking about passion plays or riots, we’re talking about a celebration! During a discussion on the celebration of Easter during the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Roman emperor Constantine said: “…it appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul… Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.”

So let’s just heed the wise words of Emperor Constantine, and keep our celebrations separate, shall we?

Oh? Am I allowing Jew haters to rain on the kumbaya moment represented by Eastover? No, no, no. It’s more about having a tiny smidgen of respect for the piles and piles and piles of dead Jews that come to mind when I think of Easter.

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20 Comments

  1. froylein

    4/7/2011 at 9:25 am

    Oh! Now I know why the Egyptians are still harbouring a grudge!

    Really now, has anybody but Tom read my post about how the bunny ended up in synagogues?

  2. larry

    4/7/2011 at 10:32 am

    I am coining a new work also. It combines Pogrom and Spring Break vacation and the Cherry Blossom Festival. I will call it Porry Blogrom Fest.

  3. larry

    4/7/2011 at 10:33 am

    Another word… Challah and Matzah and a Communion Wafer… Chalutzah

  4. alissa

    4/7/2011 at 11:29 am

    Wow! Thought that the article would be about silly dumb things like the new chocolate frogs mimicking the easter bunnies, totally was wrong!! That article brought to light a lot of memories that we, comfortable Americans, seem to push under the carpet. Should we take them out of the carpet and remember them or keep going forward in such an embracing community of “all” religions? Hummmm…

  5. chesterman

    4/7/2011 at 12:40 pm

    youre insane ck…miss and lova ya

  6. Tom Morrissey

    4/7/2011 at 1:16 pm

    Separate holidays has caused us nothing by grief… Given all that ancient blood-letting ck references, the only way forward is to combine the holidays, sharing traditions in a way that teaches tolerance and enriches each one of us. This is a great idea!

    • ck

      4/7/2011 at 4:53 pm

      I adore my many non-Jewish friends, and they are always welcome to join me for holiday meals. But combining Passover and Easter just doesn’t work for people who take either Passover or Easter seriously as religious holidays. Certainly not for the Jews. There are issues of kosher food, and a seder just can’t really share space with the celebration of an event we don’t believe in. And then there’s the fact that the actual dates really rarely if ever coincide. I have no problem breaking bread together but does it require this fake festive mishmash? Can’t we all get along without eviscerating the meaning of our respective holydays?

    • tf

      4/8/2011 at 3:53 am

      Nice sentiments but in the end it only trivializes the holidays.

      Having unique holidays, ceremonies, rituals etc. is a big part of identity and community. You water it down to some all inclusive holiday and you are depriving a child of their legacy.

      • froylein

        4/8/2011 at 11:32 am

        The point is not to wear blinders when looking at the legacy; that’s the only way it can be understood and thrive.

        • tf

          4/8/2011 at 4:34 pm

          Not really sure what you mean by blinders. The reality is in America or any other Western country where the dominant culture is Christianity ‘blended holidays’ are invariably at the expense of the smaller party.

          Everybody in America knows what Christmas or Easter are no matter their faith. Invariably that means Jews who are assimilated and less attached to their traditions know more about Christian holidays than they do about Jewish holidays. A ‘blended holiday’ won’t bring them any understanding of Judaism.

          When I was in US I met Jews who said Hannuka was a ‘Jewish Christmas’ meaning they got gifts. It had no more meaning than that. Maccabees, the temple, just vacant looks… but they all knew Christmas was the day Jesus was born, even very young children.

          • froylein

            4/8/2011 at 6:40 pm

            Chanukah, as it is commonly celebrated today outside Chasidic circles, is a de facto knock-off of Christmas and its winter solstice festival roots which has spread back to the Old World via popculture but it is not exactly authentic or as religiously important as some would like it to be in light of its political / motivational message.
            In a hierarchy of religious festivals, so to speak, Christmas would rank among most Christian denominations on the level of Shavuot on the Jewish scale.

          • tf

            4/9/2011 at 4:56 am

            @froylein I still am unclear about what is your point? I was not commenting about where Hanukkah merits in the hierarchy of Jewish holidays.

            My point is that blending Hanukka with Christmas means Jewish Children only learn it as a seasonal holiday of gift giving. They will know the details of Christmas because that is the dominant culture, but know nothing about Hanukkah.

            The same with ‘Eastover’, what Pesach just becomes a big family dinner on a Sunday? Again when I was in the US the thing I found troubling was that many Jews knew Pesach had ‘something to do with slavery in Egypt’ but made no connection between Pesach and Israel.

          • froylein

            4/9/2011 at 12:47 pm

            My point is that the anecdotal evidence you present as arguments is strongly tainted by a socio-political take on Judaism and not so much a comprehensive religious understanding. The latter would provide people with in-depth knowledge of the origins of their religious holidays, their customs and traditions while the former is an attempt at questioning the legitimacy of certain ways in which certain Jews choose to live.
            Implying my anecdotal evidence, my Israeli friends on average are far less religiously educated than my American Jewish friends. Research says that in general, Americans are not as well-versed on religion as Europeans are even though the vast majority of Americans identifies as “religious”.

            Chanukah as you know it already is a blended holiday, many other holidays and customs have borrowed from and lent to surrounding cultures. The challenge is to find progress and chances in that rather than frustration and resentment.

          • tf

            4/9/2011 at 1:48 pm

            I am not questioning the ‘legitimacy’ of anyone’s choice. My argument isn’t ‘tainted’ as I am not making any argument. I am simply stating facts that are well understood by all. The average Jew in America who has been deprived of exposure to Jewish culture (religious education as you would have it) is less attached. There are many opinions on how to reverse this trend but I wasn’t really venturing one.

            I can even turn it around and say that the average non Jew in Israel has a better understanding of Jewish religion and culture than the average American Jew. Why? Because Judaism is the dominant culture in Israel so it has nothing to do with a religious education per se.

            I can’t speak to your friends as I have no idea the circles you run in but I can also say without reservation the average Israeli Jew certainly knows more than their American counterparts about Judaism irrespective of their religious education (or lack of). Again Judaism is the dominant culture in Israel so you can’t avoid exposure and picking things up.

          • froylein

            4/17/2011 at 1:25 pm

            You’re arguing for a separation of what isn’t quite so separate, in cultural expression in the very least. Whether keeping things simple helps maintaining a tradition is a question the post could have addressed as they’re not as simple as you and the post make them sound.

  7. tf

    4/8/2011 at 3:45 am

    Hmm… Why so Eurocentric? Why not Passkran or Songover? Combine Pesach with Songkran East Asian New Year and water festival.

    Worst that can happen to CK or anyone else if they holiday there is they’ll get wet… being shot by every kid big enough to hold a water pistol.

  8. Pontius Pilate

    4/8/2011 at 2:04 pm

    Well said CK! I’ve always thought that Chrissmukah is b*ll*cks…

  9. Hannah

    4/10/2011 at 11:01 am

    Holy guilt trip! I still love Eastover. For some families of mixed heritage it is just a practicality. It was always a challenge for me to wait until after Passover ended to break into that delicious chocolate bunny and my grandma always prepares a leaven-free Easter brunch.

    Passover is Passover. Easter is Easter. They are both deeply religious holidays for different groups of people. For my family, Passover is very important, but for others in my extended family Easter is important. I don’t think the two should be combined, but making it easy for family to participate in their family members traditions is alright by me.

  10. smb

    4/13/2011 at 4:51 am

    I agree about keeping the two separate. We should keep our holidays whole without diluting them with other stuff. Celebrate what Passover is about, our redemption from Egypt and becoming a nation.
    btw, here is a good passover vid six13 passover song http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=5qSXrnkSeKs

  11. Remedy Hawke

    4/13/2011 at 5:45 pm

    You know, Easter and Passover do NOT go together. Period. Easter is about human sacrifice, eating jesus flesh and drinking his blood and eliminating each human’s direct communication with YHVH. I know, I studied religion since a kid. Passover is about God redeeming an entire nation of former slaves from captivity and letting them know he wants a one on one relationship with each and every human. These are two extremely different concepts.

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