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Christian Passover Seder with cross-shaped challah sparks online rage

Twitter user finds an extreme version of the ‘non-Jews putting an unkosher twist on the Jewish holiday meal’ stereotype

The Christian Passover seder with challah braided in the shape of a cross. (Screenshot/@clapifyoulikeme via JTA)
The Christian Passover seder with challah braided in the shape of a cross. (Screenshot/@clapifyoulikeme via JTA)

JTA — The resurgence of Christian Passover Seders, in which non-Jews put their own spin on the Jewish holiday meal, has stoked controversy in recent years.

This weekend, one Twitter user found the “perfect” culprit to criticize: A Christian woman who served a challah bread braided in the shape of a cross at her Seder.

“I think I just had a rage blackout,” the user @clapifyoulikeme tweeted Sunday, along with a screenshot of a Facebook post by Carly Friesen. The photos show Friesen’s meal layout and the cross-shaped challah.

In addition to the offense caused to some by the cross shape, the doughy challah breaks one of the core religious frameworks of the holiday — abstaining from eating leavened bread in a symbolic gesture to the holiday’s Exodus story, in which Jews fled Egypt before their bread could rise.

“Today we celebrated Passover in our own way for the first time as a family,” Friesen wrote in the post. “We had a modified Seder meal to start with a reading of the first Passover and recognizing Jesus as the final Passover lamb sacrificed for us.

“Thank you to our Saviour for paying the ultimate sacrifice for us!” she added with a heart emoji.

The screenshot of Friesen’s post drew thousands of likes and hundreds of comments, many of them perturbed.

Christian Seders often turn the afikomen — or dessert matzah that is traditionally hidden at the Jewish Passover meal — into bread of the Eucharist, or a physical manifestation of Christ.

“[I]n many the Exodus story is washed out and replaced by the Jesus story,” a rabbi told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 1997.

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