Barnes & Noble: Passover Guide Not Jewish

Monday, 30 Mar 2009 12:16 PM

By Jim Meyers

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A Jewish organization has persuaded the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain to reclassify a Passover guide as Christian rather than Jewish.

“Passover Family Pack: Everything You Need To Enjoy a Passover Seder Dinner” includes a plate for the Seder — the traditional Passover service — a cassette tape of music, and two copies of the Haggadah, a book of readings for the Passover service.

But the guide recasts the story of Passover as a setup for the arrival of “Yeshua the Messiah” — Jesus.

The Haggadah text interprets elements of the Seder service in a Christian light. For example, the wine purportedly represents the blood of Jesus and the matzo represents his body, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

“They’re taking the traditions of the Jewish faith and using them as a blunt instrument to convert Jewish people to the Christian faith,” said Rabbi Tovia Singer, director of the group Outreach Judaism and a radio talk show host in Jerusalem.

After Singer complained to Barnes & Noble, the bookseller reclassified the book.

“We realized it really should be classified as Christian,” said Carolyn Brown, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble, which sells the Passover guide online.

“When it was brought to our attention, we immediately changed it.”

Singer’s group has also asked Amazon.com and Wal-Mart to reclassify the book, but as of Sunday they had not responded.

The publisher of “Passover Family Pack” insists he is not attempting to trick Jews into worshipping Jesus.

“Of course not — that would be a terrible thing,” said Barry Rubin, author of the Haggadah included in the kit and president of Messianic Jewish Communications.

Rubin, who is also the rabbi of Emmanuel Messianic Jewish Congregation in Maryland, said the guide “looks like a regular Seder kit because it is. There’s nothing deceptive about it.”

He added that many copies of his messianic Haggadah have gone to church groups seeking to learn more about Jewish traditions, according to Haaretz.

But one reviewer on Amazon declared: “It’s a trap! Why don’t they call it ‘Passover with Jews for Jesus’?”

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