Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Happy Passover/Happy Easter

I was intending to write about the Jewish tradition of Passover today. I cooked up a lunch date with my old friend Nancy Greenfield. I wanted to get her take on the tradition. Passover is so ingrained in both Christianity and Judaism it just seemed like it would be interesting to compare the two this year.

God must have known I am doing double duty this week, what with posting for Nancy Gray’s blog (see my link to her blog: Positively Indecisive But Sure of Grace) while she is off to God Knows Where and not coming back until “Tuesday”, which apparently wasn’t yesterday since nothing got posted until I did it. So God sent me a gift guest columnist in the form of an open letter from my other Nancy that she emailed me today and asked if I would publish it. So dear readers, your wisdom for Easter this year will come to you from my Jewish friend, Nancy Greenfield.

As you read along you may notice that Nancy isn’t the rabid fan of Obama that I am, which is a little sad because we’ve usually celebrated a shared political philosophy. She still is a little leery of what she finds a lack of support for Israel and the Jewish people from Obama. But her message of love and thanks will fit the Easter season well. And she encourages you to share her message with others. Nancy is of a people for whom the Holocaust was intensely intimate and unforgettable. She reminds us that we can never let our guard down.

Maybe next week I will tell you about our conversation about Passover and unleavened bread. Let me just say that I am content to know that right now she is cleaning house like a mad woman to clear out all the leavened bread before Passover starts while I sit back knowing all I have to do is show up at my daughter’s house Sunday with a plate of deviled eggs.

Dear American Christians,
I am a Jew who wants to wish you a Happy Easter. It isn’t my holiday but I respect it in the same way you respect the Jewish holiday of Passover which is also celebrated in the springtime. Christians and Jews understand respect because we are American and we value our freedom of religion and our practice of tolerance.

Christians have always been the majority religion and have set the tone for religious harmony in America. I am writing this letter to thank you and the entire Christian community for helping maintain religious freedom in America and keeping our country an eternally safe haven for Jews.

Being a safe haven for Jews is no small thing in today’s world. Jew-haters around the globe have shown their power this year in print, on-line and in person with savage attacks of Jewish businesses, synagogues and homes. Jews have been literally beaten on the streets in civilized cities like Amsterdam, Antwerp, Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Caracas, Florence, Montevideo, and Paris.

Thank God I live in an America where Jews have been safe from such anti-Semitic violence.

Nonetheless even in America, after the Israeli military action in January, there were protests at government buildings and on college campuses that got pretty nasty from a hate Israel, hate the Jews perspective. Unable to separate Israel the nation from the Jewish people, one anti-Israel protester called for the Jews to go back to the gas chambers.

Did you see the cartoon on the March 25th New York Times On-line Edition? It was a black headless, booted figure. The creature held a sword in one hand and in the other pushed a Star of David wheel with fangs. The creature was attacking a tiny “Gaza” woman protecting her child. There was no mention of the country of Israel anywhere which means that this cartoon went beyond civil political commentary to a nasty condemnation of all Jews.

This disturbing trend of associating political Israel as synonymous with the Jewish people may get worse with the upcoming United Nations World Conference Against Racism April 20-24 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. Conceived as an instrument for peace, the U.N.’s membership and Conference participants are dominated by extremist Muslim countries with a history of promoting passionate hatred of Israel. The Conference itself starts on April 20th which, coincidentally, is Hitler’s birthday.

The Obama administration has decided to participate in this Conference so be prepared for the media to cover the event and beware of the blurring of hate of Israel and hate for Jews. Don’t be fooled by anti-Semitism disguised as news reporting.

Please, all of you who are reading this letter, remain as you have been, strong and forthright in your protection of America as the home of religious freedom for all faiths and an eternally safe haven for Jews.

Many thanks again to each of you Christians and may you all have a Happy Easter.

Nancy Greenfield

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