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Chanukah

December 16, 2009

All you Jews, listen up!  Enough with the Chanukah crap!  It’s one of the most minor holidays in the entire Jewish calendar and if not for having the good grace to occur near Christmas people would care no more about it than Tu’B’shevat!  I’m hereby issuing a call that we stop pretending that Chanukah means something or is in anyway on par with Christmas.  Furthermore, it’s time we accept that America is predominantly a Christian nation, and as such, it only makes sense that there is Christmas crap everywhere.  Finally, it’s time we accept that not every Christmas display has to be countered with something Jewish.  Simply put, mainstream Christmas has for all intents and purposes become a secular holiday.  While there are undeniable parts of the holiday that remain religious, those parts are largely limited to people’s homes and places of worship.  Rarely do any of the public aspects of Christmas have any religious meaning.  Santa Claus, Rudolph, lights, trees, cookies, elves, none of these have any religious context.  (even if there is some obscure historical religious connection, no one else knows it, meaning it doesn’t matter)  It’s time we accept that there are two distinct parts to the Christmas holiday:  The religious part, which is celebrated privately, and the secular, which is celebrated publicly.  Accepting this separation of Church and Santa, there is no reason to believe that a Menorah (which is religious) is required every time there’s a Christmas tree.  Making a big deal out of Chanukah just makes us look small and petty.  “Ooh, look at us, we have a holiday too!  See kids, you don’t need to be jealous of your Christian friends!  You get presents also!”  If you’re really worried that your kids’ faith in Judaism is so weak that they’ll abandon their faith at the first sign of Santa then you have not put enough effort into solidifying your child’s religious beliefs.  If you really want your children to embrace Judaism, then show them how their faith is different from Christmas.  Point out the waste inherent to Christmas, point out the hollow joy that comes from getting mounds of presents, point out how disgusting fruit cake is, and then explain how they don’t need any of those things because their faith allows them to rise above all of the negative things Christmas has come to symbolize while still providing the postive aspects of the holidays.  The lesson may not take the first year, or the second, or the third, but when they’re adults they’ll understand, and their faith will be stronger as a result.  Religions fail when they try to adapt the practices of other faiths that they perceive as being more popular than theirs, which eventually results in the total assimilation of the smaller faith.  The only counter is to stand up and argue why your faith is different.  After all, if your faith is no different from another, then where is the incentive to remain true to your beliefs, especially when the other faith offers a fat guy giving out gifts?

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One comment

  1. Don’t feel bad. On the calendar, the days we know as “Christmas” (and “Easter”)once belonged to other pagan religions. And then one day the Romans decided, “This is a great party you pagans are having, but you’re celebrating the birth of our messiah now.” Dissenters were executed. Merry Christmas.



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