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 You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas

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Dena

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PostSubject: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:38 pm



Thoughts? I tend to agree with her but I don't know how other people define "celebrating". I will spend time with my in-laws on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We don't exchange gifts, sing carols or do anything Christmasy. We'll just be together and there will be Christmas decorations in their home.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:11 am

I actually agree with her, with the caveat that while I have no Christmas stuff in my own home, I think that spending time with non-Jewish family while they celebrate Christmas (at their own homes) is appropriate, unless you're going to church with them or something.

I also agreed with the commenter who found it a bit vexing that all of these Christians were piling on a post by a Jew to other Jews about a Jewish holiday with the old saw of, "But the most Christian thing of all is to celebrate Chanukah! It's what Jesus would have done!" First of all, was Chanukah even instituted as a holiday when Jesus was alive? I'm kind of doubting it. Secondly, Christians, you guys have your own holidays. They're great holidays. Is it really necessary to co-opt ours to turn them into Yeshua time, too? I'm going to try and refrain from comment on the comments that asked, "What about Messianic Jews?" because I don't think I'll be able to express my opinions on that in a very respectful way.
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:20 am

I just saw this - I understand why interfaith families do it, but it's very different for converts. We give up a lot to be Jewish. To carry on celebrating Christmas for me, would just contradict everything I said on the day of my beit din.

I won't have Christmassy things in my own house, but there's no problem in respecting my family's traditions.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:29 am

FaustianSlip wrote:
I actually agree with her, with the caveat that while I have no Christmas stuff in my own home, I think that spending time with non-Jewish family while they celebrate Christmas (at their own homes) is appropriate, unless you're going to church with them or something.

I agree with you.

FaustianSlip wrote:
I also agreed with the commenter who found it a bit vexing that all of these Christians were piling on a post by a Jew to other Jews about a Jewish holiday with the old saw of, "But the most Christian thing of all is to celebrate Chanukah! It's what Jesus would have done!" First of all, was Chanukah even instituted as a holiday when Jesus was alive? I'm kind of doubting it. Secondly, Christians, you guys have your own holidays. They're great holidays. Is it really necessary to co-opt ours to turn them into Yeshua time, too? I'm going to try and refrain from comment on the comments that asked, "What about Messianic Jews?" because I don't think I'll be able to express my opinions on that in a very respectful way.

I didn't read all of the comments. I saw the one about the most Christian thing to do, rolled my eyes and closed the article. Messianics are also a topic I shall not discuss here. I\'ll Shut Up
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:34 am

I seriously headdesked when I saw the telltale "BUT JESUS WAS A JEW!" argument...
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:38 am

Samantha wrote:
I seriously headdesked when I saw the telltale "BUT JESUS WAS A JEW!" argument...

It's an overused argument that means absolutely nothing. I don't know why people don't get over it. Razz
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:38 am

I like the article very much. Next year should (Gd willing) be less stressful for me because I would be all that much wiser and not be phased by pressure to explain myself and tip toe around questions about my faith.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:27 am

It's funny; my boss, who is a very secular Jew and married to a non-Jew was talking with me the other day about getting a Christmas tree for the first time, mostly for his kid. This year's the first time they had one, and he was a little defensive about it; personally, I don't care either way- I mean, do what you want. If you're not going to go to shul on Yom Kippur, I wouldn't expect you to feel seriously about keeping Christmas out of your house, and that's fine; it's a personal decision. But for me, it would feel really weird to be all proud of choosing to be Jewish, telling my beit din that I'm throwing my lot in with the Jewish people, et cetera and having a Christmas tree up in my living room.

The comments from a lot of the Christians really pissed me off, to be honest. Kveller is a Jewish site, it says that very openly. Who the heck are you to stalk in there and start lecturing people about how it's "intolerant" to suggest that Christmas and Chanukah have mutually exclusive messages or start carrying on about how Jews should or should not celebrate their own holidays? The level of cultural appropriation amongst the, "We love Israel and Jews so much, we'll do everything they do!" crowd bothers me a lot. Chanukah isn't even a biblical festival! It was instituted by the rabbonim, it's not found in the Bible (unless you're Catholic and include I and II Maccabees as part of your biblical canon).... Gah. Drives me nuts.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:23 am

FaustianSlip wrote:
Chanukah isn't even a biblical festival! It was instituted by the rabbonim, it's not found in the Bible (unless you're Catholic and include I and II Maccabees as part of your biblical canon).... Gah. Drives me nuts.

Messianics insist Jesus celebrated Chanukah in the Christian Bible.
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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:56 am

Yes, well. Messianics insist on a lot of other things that have zero basis in Judaism (or history, for that matter). They also insist that Jesus is the Messiah. :?

That said, anyone know what their biblical basis is for that claim? I saw a few people on the Kveller thread swearing up and down that Chanukah is biblical, yadda yadda, but no sources cited. I'd be interested to hear their justifications, if only so that I can refute them later.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:54 am

FaustianSlip wrote:

That said, anyone know what their biblical basis is for that claim?

I saw a few people on the Kveller thread swearing up and down that Chanukah is biblical, yadda yadda, but no sources cited. I'd be interested to hear their justifications, if only so that I can refute them later.

No, I usually tune out. It's something about Jesus. I can check.


Last edited by Dena on Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:03 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:02 am

They base it on John 10:22 in the Christian Bible. On side note when I went to find the answer I found someone giving their not so expert opinion which included letting someone know that Jews do not celebrate birthdays.
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James

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:16 pm

Oh wow.

Some of those comments are something else all right.

But I agree with the article. It's a bit a odd with us because only my youngest two are converting with me, while my wife and oldest two are not. But Chanukah is the only holiday being celebrated in our house.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Thu Dec 15, 2011 4:05 pm

Okay, well now you guy made me curious. I'm going to go back and read the comments.
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:27 pm

Happy Chanukah! Here is a cool link to online menorah that you can set to light on each night Very Happy
http://www.templebethelohim.org/menorah/dm.html
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Samantha

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:55 am

Yet another article has cropped up on Kveller in response to the one above.

We CAN and DO Celebrate Christmas and Chanukah

I'm really not sure what they're trying to prove...
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Mon Dec 26, 2011 1:02 am

Samantha wrote:
Yet another article has cropped up on Kveller in response to the one above.

We CAN and DO Celebrate Christmas and Chanukah

I'm really not sure what they're trying to prove...

She isn't Jewish and they aren't really raising their kid Jewish either. So what I guess I am saying is these people (the mom and child) aren't Jewish. If she wants to educate her child on Christmas and Chanukah, that's her business. There is nothing wrong with learning about religion and culture. Now the husband is Jewish but he didn't write the article and he's completely uninterested. To me, that's the real issue here. His parents didn't share the beauty and richness of Judaism with him and he's not able to pass it on to his children either.



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FaustianSlip

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Mon Dec 26, 2011 12:51 pm

Yeah, what Dena said. The thing is, the article actually proves the point of the first writer, IMHO. What they're practicing isn't Judaism, and it's not Christianity, either- she says as much herself, and adds that this was a deliberate choice on the parts of both her and her husband. Throwing a Christmas tree in the corner and doing an Easter egg hunt does't make you a Christian, and lighting a menorah or buying a mezuzah doesn't make you a Jew. I think it's laudable that this mother wants to make her son aware of his Jewish heritage, especially in the face of her husband's ambivalence, but the situation she describes is exactly why people are saying that you can't have it both ways. Her son is left with no religious identity at all- and that's fine, if that's his parents' choice, but I get the impression that this woman is starting to regret their decision to basically have no religion in the house and realizes that her son is basically being cheated out of his Jewish heritage. It's a shame to me (but not entirely surprising) that her husband is so disinclined to have anything to do with Judaism. I mean, what kind of message does it send to the kid to see his own (Jewish) father prying a mezuzah off the door and calling it "weird"? Probably not a good one.

This is why I side with the first author. Ultimately, you're going to have to pick one or the other if you're going to do either wholeheartedly. As Dena said, the husband in this equation apparently had parents who couldn't communicate to him the positive aspects of Judaism (or perhaps didn't communicate much in the way of Judaism at all) and left him unable to share any of it with his son. Forget the religious aspects- from a purely cultural standpoint, I find that depressing. But what exactly are these kids who are celebrating both Christmas and Chanukah getting out of it? Aren't they taking away much the same message? Sure, kids, Chanukah is nice, but we're mostly doing it as a counterpoint to the Christmas orgy of consumerism. Chanukah is almost never alluded to except in the same breath as Christmas- which is understandable, but I don't think that's going to magically transmit to your children a love of Yiddishkeit if Chanukah is your one concession to Jewish tradition every year. But then, I don't think a lot of these parents care all that much about transmitting Yiddishkeit or keeping Jewish tradition alive so much as being able to pretend that that's what they're doing when they have a token Chanukah celebration alongside the Christmas tree every year. That's why, I suspect, the original critique of the Christmas/Chanukah thing frosted so many people.

Ultimately, parents will do what they want and what they think is best for their kids, which is just as it should be. But this pretension that it's somehow in keeping with the intent of either holiday to celebrate both, or that it's appropriate to celebrate a holiday expressly against the dangers of assimilation in the shadow of a Christmas tree, or that lighting a menorah once a year is going to bring a kid to some great epiphany about the beauty of Judaism is getting a bit old. If all the time you can devote to Judaism is a few hours a year to light some candles, or if the only richness you can find in Judaism is in aping Christian traditions, that'll probably be what a kid takes away from the whole experience.
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tamar

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:58 am

Dena wrote:


Thoughts? I tend to agree with her but I don't know how other people define "celebrating". I will spend time with my in-laws on Christmas Eve and Christmas. We don't exchange gifts, sing carols or do anything Christmasy. We'll just be together and there will be Christmas decorations in their home.

We do not have any aspect of Christmas in my home. That being said I have Christian parents and a Christian mother in law. I send them gifts for their holiday and they send their grandchildren gifts. My parents have always been very respectful of my choice and they send a Hanukkah card along with the gift. My mother in law is not to open.

Christmas in my parents home is really secular. There have never been Christmas carols. No one goes to church.

I have more of an issue with celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas in an interfaith home. I know many Jews who do and they are either an interfaith or a family with one family member who is a convert.

I find it problematic that as converts we promise to not practice any other religion yet I have seen converts continuing to celebrate Christian holidays because they have a Christian partner. This is one of the reasons a Conservative Rabbi will not do a conversion that will make a mixed marriage.

It was really confusing for my kids when they saw Christmas trees in Jewish homes and I said no we cannot have a tree. We had not had a tree in years but they really did not understand.

For me assimilation is a huge problem when we muddy the water and mix Christmas and Hanukkah.
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aharon

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:37 am

Happy Chanukah everyone. Being a day ahead of most of you it's nice to get there first.

This is the first year when I'm actually celebrating Chanukah.

It will also be the first year when I won't be doing the Christmas thing. To be honest, I kind of turned my back on Christmas about 5 years ago. Initially it didn't sit too comfortably with me. It's taken this long, and a huge amount of thought as to why, to be completely ok about stopping Christmas celebrations. When I really thought about it, I recalled I never fully enjoyed Christmas. Sure it looked pretty with all the decorations and lights, and the songs were nice, but I had to admit I was indifferent to the 'meaning' of it. Besides I found it too stressful a time haha.

That said, now I'm standing back from it I can really see how all-encompassing Christmas is and how difficult it is to fully withdraw. Case in point being work- my workplace has a big Christmas party, there is a 'secret Santa' (hope you are familiar with the concept), and everybody gets a massive hamper which includes (yep you guessed it) a massive ham.
Wink and Smile

Now here's a semi-serious question. What should I do with all those boxes of Christmas decorations that I have stored in the garage? Surely it's ok to give them to family or friends who haven't embarked on the same path as me? No Idea
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:59 pm

Giving them away would be fine. If they don't want it then you can donate it.
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searchinmyroots

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:53 pm

Aharon,

Thanks for the Chanukah wishes!

Yes, everywhere you look "it looks like Christmas". Except in Israel I think.

But I would think a majority of it is just commercilaism. Don't get me wrong, it's a great thing to help out others in need and get together with family, but hey, Jews have been doing that every week for thousands of years!

I was just in a store and asked if they had any Chanukah music. It was just a regular store so I didn't expect much to begin with. I said to the person that works there - "I'm looking for Chanukah Music in the Holiday Music section, but it looks like the music is only for one holiday".

We're used to being a minority.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:33 pm

In my area of Chicagoland, there is as much Hanukkah stuff as Christmas stuff everywhere: the supermarkets, drug stores, and even "Bed, Bath & Beyond". As many of my neighbors show lighted Hanukkah menorahs in their windows as have Christmas lights. The background music at the big chain supermarket when I was shopping there last week was Hanukkah music, and not just the "Dreidel" song either, but the ones that only have Hebrew lyrics. (I was really surprised the time that I heard a Purim song in the background at the appropriate time of the year when I was shopping at another branch of that supermarket which has a smaller kosher section.) But then, that supermarket has a huge kosher section of several aisles and kosher bakery, deli, meat, fish, dairy, and wine sections, not to mention a really good kosher Chinese food take-out that runs out of a corner of the kosher section. About half of the customers are obviously Orthodox Jews which you can tell from the kippot and head covers and long skirts.

And my local stores sell stuff for other Jewish holidays, not just for Hanukkah which annoyingly is the only Jewish holiday many non-Jews know about. The supermarkets sell hamentaschen for Purim, for example. Sometimes they miss though, like the time that a small local grocery store didn't have decorative gourds for sale until a week AFTER Sukkot. They probably ordered them based on the time the gourds sold from the year before when the holiday was later. So the store probably sold far fewer gourds without the market of all the Jews who would normally buy them to decorate their sukkah.
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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:35 pm

My bottom line, which I blogged in my own "holiday post" this year--after two years of forethought, I think it's obnoxious for any Jew to call Christmas *indisputably* religious, when millions and millions of Christians, who are really the only ones who have a say in it anyway, take pains to explain that Christmas very often is celebrated as an entirely secular holiday. I think the reason why converts like myself may seem more open about Christmas than Jews-by-birth is that we have lived on both sides of the fence and we understand this to be true.

The most amazing conversations I have during December are always with born Jews who tell me that my experience of and opinions concerning Christmas, derived from actually having been raised a Christian, are less authentic than their experiences and opinions, derived from a lifetime on the outside looking in.

In reality, all Jews--convert or otherwise--and their opinions are equal whether you like it or not, and it's no one else's business how a given Jewish family celebrates any holiday season.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: You can't celebrate Chanukah and Christmas   Mon Jan 07, 2013 5:48 pm

mikedoyleblogger wrote:
My bottom line, which I blogged in my own "holiday post" this year--after two years of forethought, I think it's obnoxious for any Jew to call Christmas *indisputably* religious, when millions and millions of Christians, who are really the only ones who have a say in it anyway, take pains to explain that Christmas very often is celebrated as an entirely secular holiday.

I have never known one single Christian who goes to pains to explain this...and then approves of it. Does it get done? Sure. I still don't see that as a reason for me to put up a Christmas tree. I've also been clear that I do think as Jews, it is of concern to each of us how others behave and live their lives. Judaism is not a religion of individuality and being a Jew is being a part or group.
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