Why Russian Jews Dreaded Easter Weekend
As Christians around the world will be celebrating the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, many traditional Jews will have a different set of emotions, especially those who hail from Russia.
“Death to the Jews” on Easter
Of course, if Passover and Easter fall at the same time of the year, the Jewish focus will be almost entirely on Passover. Cleansing the house from leaven. Preparing for the Passover meal (called the Seder). Attending special synagogue services.
But the Easter celebration can stir up some ugly memories. During the days of the pogroms, Easter was the perfect time to go out and kill those miserable Christ-killers. Death to the Jews!
Wikipedia gives the following (quite accurate) description of one such event: “The Kishinev pogrom was an anti-Jewish riot that took place in Kishinev, then the capital of the Bessarabia Governorate in the Russian Empire, on 6-9 April 1903. Further rioting erupted in October 1905. In the first wave of violence, beginning on Easter Day, 49 Jews were killed, a number of Jewish women were raped and 1,500 homes were damaged.”
Giving further background: “The most popular newspaper in Kishinev … regularly published articles with headlines such as ‘Death to the Jews!’ and ‘Crusade against the Hated Race!’ (referring to the Jews). When a gentile Ukrainian boy, Mikhail Rybachenko, was found murdered in the town of Dubossary, about 25 miles north of Kishinev, and a girl who committed suicide by poisoning herself was declared dead in a Jewish hospital, the Bessarabetz paper insinuated that both children had been murdered by the Jewish community for the purpose of using their blood in the preparation of matzo for Passover. … These allegations, and the prompting of the town’s Russian Orthodox bishop, sparked the pogrom.”
The Blessing of Their Priests
But this was not the only time such atrocities occurred in conjunction with Christian celebrations. Consider these atrocities which took place in Dzialoszyce, Poland, on September 2, 1942, and notice the italicized sentences at the end:
“The old, the sick, pregnant women and small children, two thousand innocent Jewish souls, were shot and brutally thrown into [freshly dug] graves, one on top of the other. Many of them were still alive! For most of the children they didn’t even waste a bullet. They were just thrown in alive. And together with those who were only wounded, finished their lives under the pressure of the human mass.
“The next morning, a few of the wounded were able to crawl out of the graves and managed to walk a few metres, but died shortly thereafter. … The larger grave contained a thousand bodies, and the two smaller graves contained five hundred bodies each. We learned of this massacre from the Polish police themselves. They told [our friend] Moshe Hersh about it in great detail, because they themselves had taken part in that slaughter.
“On the following Sunday, they went to church with their families, as if nothing had happened. They suffered no guilt feelings. After all, they were only murdering Jews, with the blessing of their priests, who inflamed them from their pulpits on Sundays.” (Martin Rosenblum, quoted in Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust: A History of the Jews During the Second World War. Rosenblum was the only member of his family to survive the Holocaust. For further, related discussion, see here.)
Jew Hatred Alive Still Today
You might ask me, “Why in the world would you bring these things up at such a sacred time of the year, a time that is sacred for both Jews and Christians?”
Because this same Jew hatred is alive and well today. Because the New Testament is still being used to justify the vilification of the Jewish people (as a whole) as evil Christ-killers. Because professing Christians still accuse the Jewish people (as a people) of every kind of wickedness.
On the Thursday broadcast of The Line of Fire, I interviewed Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones, author of the massive book The Jewish Revolutionary Spirit, among other works. He flatly denies being an antisemite and speaks against hurting the Jewish people physically. At the same time, he affirms the blanket statement that “the Jews killed Christ” and believes that Paul explicitly taught that “the Jews” are hostile to all people and do not please God.
Dr. Jones is quite capable of speaking for himself, so I simply refer the interested reader to our discussion here. (Note that Dr. Jones has affected comedian Owen Benjamin in recent months. For my issues with some of Benjamin’s statements about the Jewish people, see here.)
Suffice it to say that, in the first few hours since my interview with Dr. Jones was posted, comments like this began pouring into our YouTube channel:
- “[J]ews are filth. So is this moron ‘Dr.’ Brown. Jews usury and blasphemy is what has had them thrown out of 109+ countries. They can’t hide behind the guise of ‘antisemitism’ forever. Jesus cursed these people (remember the fig tree?)”
- “Ben Shapiro was cracking jokes about Notre Dame as the spire was falling down but the Jews have been kicked out of over 100 countries for absolutely no reason at all.”
- “The Jews are indeed cursed. As taught by the Holy Ghost through St. Paul at 1 Thess. 2:16 about the Jews: ‘the wrath of God is come upon them to the end.’”
- “Ye shall know them by their fruits. The fruit of the Jew is subversion because the seed of the Jew is anti-logos. Their seed is from Satan, and their father is the Devil. Just as we can say Muslims are not a peaceful force on earth, rather in their identity is conquest and violence, we can also say the Jew’s identity is the rejection of logos.”
A Prayer of Love and Compassion
Thankfully, comments like this do not reflect the hearts of countless millions of Christians worldwide, Christians who love the Jewish people and feel a closeness to them because their Savior is himself a Jew (as are all the apostles). As a Jewish follower of Jesus myself, I affirm that every one of these commenters can be forgiven through the cross. God’s mercy is great through Jesus!
My appeal here is simple: As we look to the crucified and resurrected Jew this weekend while our Jewish friends and neighbors are celebrating Passover, let’s lift up a prayer of love and compassion for them.
They’ve already experienced more than enough “Christian” hate.