They Tried To Kill Us, We Survived, Let’s Eat
When people think of Jewish holidays, they often think of Hannukah which is not a very important Jewish holiday, as most Jews will tell you. But due to the fact that it often coincides with Christmas and this country is culturally Christian, people often associate Hanukkah with being “The Jewish Holiday.” But not many Jews that I know would ever say that their favorite holiday is Hanukkah because it doesn’t have as much importance as some of the other holidays.
A running joke in the Jewish community is that a lot of the Jewish holidays can be summed up in the phrase, “They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.” In my opinion, no other holiday represents this phrase better than Passover, my favorite Jewish holiday.
Passover is the story of the Jews being freed from slavery and Egypt by God. And while there are other holidays that are important in Judaism, namely the High Holidays/High Holy Days like Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, no other holiday makes me feel more connected to my Judaism than Passover does.
The story of Passover is one that is all too familiar and frequently repeats itself. Maybe that’s why it makes me feel so connected to being Jewish because even though the Exodus was in Biblical times, the Holocaust was only 82 years ago and the antisemitism faced by Jews from both the left and the right is still prevalent to this day.
Another reason I’ve always felt a special connection to Passover is because it is one of the holidays, much like Thanksgiving, where family and friends come together to eat and pray. I also grew up on the TV show The Rugrats and seeing the Passover episode, along with owning the book, was one of the few times that mainstream media was showing Judaism to a younger audience. With the plethora of Christmas content for children, there was a lacuna of mainstream content about Jewish children that you didn’t have to actively seek out. Along with The Rugrats and The Prince of Egypt, Passover easily became my favorite holiday when I was growing up which has continued to this day.
Passover also has very important messages, in my opinion. While a lot of holidays have important messages, the messages of helping those who are oppressed and social justice relayed throughout the Passover seder always resonate with me.
One thing I find particularly interesting and disturbing to think about is the fact that there were Jewish people in America who at one time owned slaves. It’s really hard to wrap my mind around something like that, having an entire holiday dedicated to the evils of slavery, while presumably having your meal cooked and served by a slave. There had to be an awful lot of cognitive dissonance going on during those seders in order for them to rationalize the fact that they were slaveowners.
Passover also means eating a lot of great food. Some of the traditional foods for Passover are absolute bangers in my opinion: Matza? Banger. Horseradish? Banger. Hard-boiled eggs? Banger. Charoset? Banger. Hillel sandwiches? Banger. Passover just keeps the bangers coming when it comes to food.
Passover is a really special holiday because it reminds us of the story of Exodus. It’s the holiday where I feel closest to the religion and culture as a whole. Because they tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.