Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Passover 2017: Reflections on Passover as More Than a Holiday — "It's a Call to Arms"

Mark Silk on the seder that POTUS hosted (but did not attend) at the White House:

The good news is that, continuing a nice Obama tradition, President Trump will be hosting a Passover seder at the White House this evening. 
The bad news is that, at least as of this writing, the Host will not actually be attending himself. . . . 
There are many important lessons to be learned from the story of Passover, but perhaps the most important one, at this moment in American history, is the one drawn from the fact that the Israelites were strangers (Hebrew: gerim) in the land of Egypt. 
The Bible repeatedly enjoins the Jews not to mistreat strangers, and even to love them, because of our experience in Egypt. As in Exodus 22:20: "You shall not taunt or oppress a ger for you were gerim in the land of Egypt." 
There is, in rabbinic Judaism, some debate over the precise meaning of ger. There are those, for example, who argue that the term properly refers only to residents of the Land of Israel who are proselytes to the faith. 
Whatever meaning ger may have in certain later texts, that argument is irrelevant when it comes to the biblical injunction, which is an argument by analogy. We were once strangers in a strange land, therefore we must treat strangers in our land well. 
Hear that, Mr. President?

Samantha Gross on the kindness of a stranger at Passover:

Samantha Gross thought she'd be spending the first night of Passover alone until fellow journalist James Masters Tweeted asking if anyone would like to attend his family's Seder. 

As Passover arrives, David Samuel Levinson remembers his mother's death last year, and her determination not to let the xenophobes and fascists win, after she and her parents fled Vienna and the Nazis eo come to the U.S.: he writes, 

Passover is more than just a holiday. It's a call to arms. I have realized and maybe you did, too, even before the election laid bare the fight we would face, that above all else Passover is the story of a successful uprising against tyranny. It is a story dripping with hope, one that inherently looks to the future — a story we need this year in America more than ever. 
As a people, we Jews have historically led the resistance against intolerance and persecution, from championing the civil rights movement to standing up against authoritarianism in all its guises. We have always sought a better world, not only for ourselves but also our children. This Passover we must come together, urgently, to sit among friends and family and listen to the unprecedented story of a profound resistance. We must remember that we have faced dark times before — in Egypt, in Spain, in Auschwitz — and that we have outlasted them. We will outlast these dark, turbulent times as well, not just because we continue to stand on the right side of history, but also because, as targets of hate and survivors of it, we know exactly what’s at stake if we fail.

As Adam Nossiter reports, in a casual remark Sunday, white ethnonationalist French leader and Trump ally Marine Le Pen sought to obliterate years of historical research demonstrating the complicity of the French Vichy government and French people in the Holocaust. This is part and parcel of white ethno-nationalism. It's what the white ethno-nationalist "making-[Christian]nations-great-again" — a scam for which many people across the West are falling — is all about. The white ethno-nationalist scam requires a radical, dishonest revision of our history. It requires a radical, dishonest revision of Christian history, in particular.

The Christendom that Bannon and Le Pen and others are peddling is deeply tainted with anti-Semitism, racism, and misogyny. It combined cross and crown to the vast detriment of subjugated peoples in the non-European part of the world. It proudly went to war in the name of the cross, especially against Islamic people.

Reviving Christendom is not reviving Christianity. The two are antithetical to each other.

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