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.