With Thanksgiving out of the way, the next looming holiday is Christmas/Xmas/ The Winter Solstice/Chanukah celebration.
I recall over the years, how some have found the time to make a comment on one or another of my blogs saying things like “Seriously–is THIS what you did for Christmas?“
The general tone of such comments was always nasty, and cruel–and other TI’s have reported similar things, most recently Richard Moore in Mississippi, who found himself at a battlefield, alone, due to being stalked by a gang that he is suing in federal court right now.
And to start my own celebration of this wonderful season, I would like to feature two interesting articles from The New York Daily News. And because TI’s need extra support during the holiday season, I want to show a little love for the traditions of the season, from two unique Jewish perspectives, but invite TI’s to share there own unique perspectives on the holiday in the comments section!
All I want for Chanukah is a Christmas tree by By Sally Edelstein has us view the liberal Jewish traditions surrounding Christmas–and some of the fondest memories of a bygone era of Jewish assimilation into America’s pluralist society. She writes
That many American Jews envy Christmas is well known. It’s less acknowledged that many actually celebrate it. For the first few years of my childhood, my Jewish parents chose to celebrate Christmas over Chanukah. The history of American Jews celebrating Christmas is a long one. By the time my paternal grandfather Moishe was born in 1885, it had already begun changing from a religious to a secular national holiday. Immigrants arriving in New York City, including my Eastern European Jewish great-grandparents, were deluged with the yuletide spirit in stores and schools. Celebrating Christmas was a way of assimilating into the new culture, and some adopted customs such as gift-giving. With Santa sidestepping Jesus, it was easy for my great grandparents to join in the Christmas spirit to prove they weren’t greenhorns.
Imagine debating “yeah, but which Jewish boy WAS Jesus exactly?” over a heaping table of steaming and delicious holiday food! Lulz! Its a very warm read–an invokes the best feelings of the holiday season–sidestepping Jesus, of course.
I am still chuckling.
Then, the question of racial “purity,”and racist traditions, isolationism, and ultra-Orthodoxy–a challenge for many American Jews–is presented by By Ben Krull
The most Jewish of the Jews? More liberal, secular Jews should reassert their conception of their religion is a story that asks us to ponder It may seem counterintuitive to advocate for liberal Judaism’s revival during The Festival of Lights. Hanukkah’s heroes, the Maccabees, were notorious for enforcing a stringent interpretation of Judaism. But their narrow mindset eventually lost out to broader viewpoints.
Jewish philosopher Raphael Jospe noted, “we see that only those movements which maintained that Judaism is flexible, capable of adopting foreign wisdom and adapting to life’s needs, survived and ultimately shaped the course that Judaism was to take in its evolution.”
Are Haredi Jews moving other Jews to far right, racist and anti-liberal cultural traditions? And if so–what can other Jews do about it, so that the bejeweled and sparkling dialogues that comprise Jewish religion and culture don’t lose out to zealotry, racism, and isolationism?
And I think that is an important question for all targets too–where do YOU come from? And –where are you going? How will you get there–and–what will you DO once you are there?
Because if you can’t answer those questions–Santa Klaus isn’t coming to your house this year!
And if you can? I will keep an eye out for you here at my table, for the Winter Solstice which is celebrated by nearly all peoples around the entire world, in one form or another! Here are 19 of them from Scary Mommy.