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Apr 05

Passover and Easter

Easter is not a big deal to me.  I have a lot more issues in December, because Christmas is such a big holiday and Hanukkah is such a minor Jewish one.  But in the spring – Passover is one of my favorite Jewish holidays and Easter has always been less significant.  I think this year it’s particularly difficult to get excited about Easter because of the timing.  Passover starts on Friday night and we’ve got big Seders on Friday and Saturday and then doing Easter the next day just seems… like overkill.  Like it’s too much. Like it’s unnecessary.  I dislike it in December too – when Hanukkah and Christmas are too close together.  As someone who celebrates the Jewish  holidays because I’m, you know, Jewish, and the other holidays because I grew up, you know, not Jewish – it’s always a struggle to do justice to both.

So why bother with Easter at all?  Good question, and one that I’ve pondered a couple of times.  Because I am Jewish, and absolutely going to celebrate Hanukkah and Passover.  But there’s a part of me that really needs for Judaism to be an addition to my life, and not represent a subtraction.  I want my spirituality to fit into my life, not to represent things that I have to give up and lose.  And it’s critical to me that my children know and celebrate their whole heritage – and only half of that heritage is Jewish.

It’s tough to explain – because while I’m content and satisfied with my religious choices, and secure in the knowledge that my children are Jewish, that Marc and I are specifically raising a Jewish family and living a Jewish life, I’m also not ashamed of the fact that my family of orgin is mostly Irish Catholic pagan witches.  I like that reality.  I don’t want to lose that.  I don’t want my kids to feel ashamed that they don’t have a Bubbie who makes gefilte fish and chopped liver. I want them to love that they a Grammy and a Dzidzi who decorate for Easter and hide eggs and give them way too much candy every year.

And they do – I know the conflict is more in my head than in theirs.   They’re fine with bringing macaroons and chocolate matzoh to the Easter celebrations, and believe firmly that the Easter bunny will drop off baskets here on Sunday morning.  They know they’re Jewish, they know they celebrate my family’s holidays because one of the tenets (one of the Commandments, really) is to honor your parents, and that’s what Mama does.  We celebrate the holidays because it’s what my mother wants.  It’s what my grandmother would want, if she was still alive.  Not that they celebrate Christian holidays, but that they know, down deep on a level they’d never question, that they are connected to generations past.  That they are part of a larger family – and they are blessed to belong to two extended families.  One that celebrates Passover and one that celebrates Easter.

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