Happy Passover and Easter from CAMERA's Partnership!
CAMERA's Partnership of Christians and Jews wishes all our Jewish friends a very happy Passover and all our Christian friends a very blessed Easter!
Dear Christian Leader,
This year, (unlike some others), the Jewish celebration of Passover and the Christian commemoration of the events of Jesus' last week on earth coincide in the same way those events occurred during Passover in the time of Jesus.
Jews have been observing Passover ever since it was instituted by Moses and Aaron in Exodus 12 in remembrance of the deliverance of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. In the course of the Passover meal, or Seder, the story of the Exodus is recounted in detail every year.
Because Jesus was Jewish and grew up in an observant culture, he too would have celebrated Passover annually. Luke 2:41-42 tells us that Jesus' parents "went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast.”
The phrase, "the custom of the feast," refers to the fact that it was customary for Jews to go up to Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday. In fact, Passover is one of three annual festivals, for which Jews made - and still make - pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem on the day we now call Palm Sunday, there would have been multiplied thousands of pilgrims already gathered in the city for the upcoming celebration of Passover. Furthermore, the meal Jesus shared with his disciples before he was arrested - the one we now refer to as the Last Supper - was actually in observance of Passover. In Luke 22:15, Jesus said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
Because of Jesus' Jewish identity and his observance of Passover, it is especially meaningful when the celebrations of Passover and Easter coincide as they do this year. The fact that the two holidays do not always occur at the same time is the result of a discrepancy between the biblical calendar, which determines the date of Passover, and the Gregorian calendar, which determines the date of Easter.
The Gregorian calendar was adopted by the institutionalized church in the early centuries after the life of Jesus. One of the consequences of the use of this newer calendar (relative to the older biblical calendar) was the separation of the events of Jesus' last week on earth from the dates on which they actually occurred. This is just one of a number of policies instituted by the early church that resulted in the severance of the Christian faith from its Jewish roots.
A more detailed discussion of the ramifications of uncoupling the Christian faith from its Jewish roots is for another time but suffice it to say for now - the lack of understanding of the Jewish identity of Jesus and the Jewish context of his faith has contributed significantly to Christian antisemitism and the persecution of Jews throughout most of church history.
One of the ways hatred of Jews has manifested historically is through false allegations that Jews are blood-thirsty and kill people in order to get their blood. One particular example of what have come to be known as "blood libels" is an accusation from the Middle Ages that Jews used the blood of non-Jewish children for ritual purposes, such as in the making of matzah. This charge was frequently used to incite mob violence against Jews, especially around the time of Passover.
The medieval libel that Jews use gentile blood to make matzah has once again been deployed through a cartoon included in a recent CNN article, published on January 25. In spite of contact from CAMERA, this libelous, hate-filled image can still be seen on CNN's website. For more information about this current manifestation of an ancient blood libel, read this article on CAMERA's website.
In light of the fact that we are seeing an alarming rise in antisemitism, please take a few minutes this week in honor of Passover and Easter to do something tangible to oppose the growing hatred of Jews!
1. Watch this 1:51 video that summarizes the current issue and then share it on your social media pages.
2. Write to CNN Vice President Veronica Molina at email@example.com, send her a link to the video and ask her to have the libelous cartoon removed from their site.
When you write, please send blind copies of your email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
3. During this holy week for Jews and Christians, make a fresh commitment to stand against antisemitism wherever and however it manifests, and stand in solidarity with the Jewish people no matter what!