Monday, December 22, 2008

From the Modi'in HANGLO email list


Actually, I wasn't sure whether to inlclude in this post's title "CRANGLO" (ChRristian ANGLOs) or HANGLO, Hellinist ANGLOs. (both based on the "JANGLO" -- Jerusalem Anglo list)

This morning, I was working on a post about the good news that 95% of Jewish Israeli households light Chanuka candles according to a recent Gesher survey. I was going to write about R' Shmuel Eliyahu's article this past Shabbat that "Secular Israelis are Not Hellinists"…and then, I got the following email thread from the Modi'in "anglo" email list.

You know, Modi'in, named for Ancient Modi'in, the place of origin of the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty that ruled Judea in the first and second centuries BCE, and it is where the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Greeks started? THAT Modi'in.

So what was so baffling about this email thread? People on this email list were pining for Christmas Carols to be sung in the Modi'in park -- not by Christians, but by Jews, Anglo-Israelis!

Makes you wonder why a Jew would move from the US to Israel, just to sing Christmas "just to enjoy beautiful" Carols?

Wishing you all a Happy Chanuka, in which we celebrate the affirmation of our Jewish heritage over assimilation with foreign cultures and religions.


--Jameel

PS: To all our friends in Modi'in who want to carol away the night, here's something worthwhile to read as background information on your joyous holiday caroling. (hat-tip, DovBear)

(names changed and email addresses removed to prevent lawsuits)

Email #1

CG wrote:



Hi List!

My wife's hairdresser told her that there will be a Christmas carol service in Park Anabe [in Modi'in] on Wednesday night. Does anyone know what time it starts ?

Happy Holidays Y'all


Email #2:

On Sat, Dec 20, 2008 at 8:43 PM, YG wrote:

Unbelievable!

Email #3:

On Sun, Dec 21, 2008 at 9:17 AM, JB wrote:

What's so unbelievable? I'm curious. Is it so outrageous that someone might want to listen to Christmas carols here in Israel? Perhaps it's equally outrageous that a Jew living in the US might want to light candles on Chanukkah. If it really is being planned, I think it's a wonderful idea!

-JB


Email #4:

Hi

I did not hear of any positive confirmation of christmas carols taking place in park anabe this week

however as there is such an obvious popular demand for christmas carols in modiin, why dont we do an impromtu carols sing along in a park in modiin this wednesday night - any ideas ?

here is a list of carols to get everyone in the mood

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christmas_carols

chag sameach to everyone


Email #5:

Hi,

How many Christians are there in Modi'in to make up a choir? And Xmas carols are not exactly Rudolph and Jingle Bells, they are praises to Jesus the Lord. Modi'in has been created as a Jewish city as most of the cities in Israel. And most of the cities in Israel that were set up in 1948, when the State of Israel was declared as a Jewish country, Ben Gurion and the other secular members of that government declared all the religious and national holidays to be the Jewish holidays. That is so that we would not be like other countries, but a Jewish country. Modi'in, also created as a Jewish city is not comparable to the US or any other city or country in the world. I don't think that singing dreidel songs in Catholic countries like a piazza in an Italian city, or a Spanish city would be appropriate either.

Of course we have Christian and other non-Jewish groups in Israel and they get budgets from the Misrad Hadatot just as synagogues get budgets. If anyone is really interested in hearing Xmas carols, or the midnite mass, my suggestion is to go to Yafo, Nazareth, J'lem or Latrun where there are concentrations of Christians and proper churches, and listen to an authentic rendition.

IMHO, it is not appropriate to have a public singing of Xmas carols right smack in the center of Modi'in. How many of the foreign workers are Christian, and how many of those will actually come?

G.


Email #6:

I beg to differ. Singing dreidel songs in Italy or anywhere else is just as appropriate as caroling in Israel. Modiin is just another city, with people like you that might not want to here carols and are there welcome to stay at home or go to a restaurant and support local businesses, or read a book, etc. There are other people, like me, Jewish, not afraid of other religions, do not believe in the message, just enjoying the beautiful songs. You don't like it, don't show up, it's that simple and it's called freedom of assembly.


S


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

49 comments:

Rafi G said...

very strange.

Commenter Abbi said...

But whatever they do, don't let boys put on tefillin in the secular high school!

The back of the hill said...

I've already vented about xmas songs. Plenty.

Here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/12/pre-emptive-bah-humbug.html

In that the business for which I work is particularly busy at this time of year, you can well imagine that I am more than normally billious about the season.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rafi G: You're one to talk - RBC isn't exactly the bastion of normalicy!

Abbi: You can be sure these are the same liberals that want to sing Christmas carols but forbid tefillin being put on in a broom closet.

Both: Who would have thought Jewish anglos would be the biggest promoters of caroling...?

Rafi G said...

just goes to show you that there are crazies everywhere.... no community is immune

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Question: What do Hanglos give up for Lent?

the sabra said...

Truth is most definitely stranger than fiction...!

And in this case, more unfortunate and more pathetic and more embarrassing...

Michael Sedley said...

Unfortunately it's not just in Modi'in:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1229868819366&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Also, I recently saw a Banner-ad in Hebrew that said "Come celebrate Christmas in America" (or words to that effect), complete with picture of rudolf and Xmas trees.

I wish that I saved the image to blog about - and that was Before the very strange email chain on the Modi'in list.

JoeSettler said...

I've been wondering, how could anyone vote for Kadima after these past few years, but after reading a post like this nothing can surprise me.

Lurker said...

Jameel: You can be sure these are the same liberals that want to sing Christmas carols but forbid tefillin being put on in a broom closet.

These phemomena are not about being liberal; they're about an absence of Jewish identity and/or Jewish self-hatred.

Jack said...

That is really bizarre.

Tzipporah said...

Wow, I guess it's NOT just right-wing nutjobs who move to Israel.

Malka said...

Thank you for the world clock showing what time it is in Israel.
My daughter is in Israel (her first day and her first time!)on a birthright trip and it made me feel closer to her. It said 5 AM so I hope she is sleeping! /Ani mitga-a-ga-at...

Anonymous said...

Michael- Of course there are banners that say celebrate xmas- there are Christians here... but not on the Modiin anglo list- those are JEWS!

Commenter Abbi said...

Hmm, I'll be the first to admit this is strange,but I'd hardly chalk it up to "self hatred" or lack of Jewish identity.

I grew up in a frum home in America, I'm still frum, and I still miss Christmas a bit, even though when I was still there it was very annoying for me.

Christmas in America has almost nothing to do with Jesus or religion. Yes, the songs might mention these things, but on the whole, I'd say most of the spirit of the holiday is pretty well divorced from its Christian (definitely its pagan) origins. I wouldn't go so far as to put a tree in my home. Nor would I go caroling.

But I do understand the sentiment. It's a part of American winter culture that they're missing. There's an excitement, the lights, the colors (the sales!- gah, the consumerism was most annoying) that 's fun to be a part of as an American, no matter what religion you practice.

They're not looking for an "authentic" Christian church hymn experience. It's like (l'havdil) singing zmirot on shabbat.

I have no idea what that says or doesn't say about their Jewish identities (although, I'm guessing if they made the effort to make aliyah, they probably don't lack as much of the Jewish identity as you think they do).

Baila said...

As a resident of Modiin, I have been following this thread on the Modiin list with amusement. I think that Abbi is right about some people missing the "season", I don't think there is a large group of Christians living here. I believe most of these carolers are looking for "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" rather than "Silent Nigh"t. That I even know these carols speaks to the many years I have spent immersed in the dominant American culture.

Though I do miss some of that culture, I have no desire to join the carolers (?). But part of living in Modiin, a very mixed city, is "live and let live". If it makes them happy, so be it. They are here and that pleases me.

In the meantime, I am enjoying living in the part of Israel where the Macabis roamed and where G-d brought them great victory over our enemies. And awaiting the miracle of that great victory again.

Chanukah Sameach!

Colin said...

Hi

as an avid reader of your blog I was surprised to see that you reflected on my initial posting about Christmas carols in Modiin.

From my experience growing up in the states, loads of Jews including religious ones enjoy a good Christmas carol sing-along.

Surely from time to time you must have caught yourself humming along to jingle bells or silent night?

I don’t believe any harm is done by a communal group of friends getting together to sing some songs about Christmas. Would it be so strange for a group of Christians to sing Maoz Tsur and spin a dreidel? I think not

just my thoughts - happy holidays y'all

Colin Goldstein - Modiin

JoeSettler said...

I am thrilled that my kids sing and hum only Chanukah songs all holiday long (all month long in fact).

I am thrilled that they have no conception or knowledge of Xmas nor the desire to bring pagan rituals or music into their lives, home or neighborhood.

I am thrilled that we have decorated the house with Chanukah paraphernalia and pictures.

I love the excitement of Chanukah, the lights in Jerusalem, the music, and how this is OUR culture and history we are celebrating.

I am happy that my kids learn in school how the Maccabees beat the Hellenists and prevented assimilation in the land of Israel (which certainly included copying pagan rituals, drinking eggnog, and "cultural-holiday" music).

FD said...

Its one thing to hum along to the radio, its another thing to ORGANIZE a xmas carol get together! My fellow modiin residents are indeed confused

the sabra said...

JoeSettler OMG THANK YOU!

Amongst the disgusting garbage, I see a light.

triLcat said...

I can assure anyone who is worried that the mall here in Modiin is all designer sufganiyot!

Anonymous said...

I drink egg nog in the privacy of my own home because I actually like the stuff. I wish they sold it year-round.

As for carols, this implication is just plain BS:

From my experience growing up in the states, loads of Jews including religious ones enjoy a good Christmas carol sing-along.

Friar_Yid said...

I am thrilled that we have decorated the house with Chanukah paraphernalia and pictures.

...I am happy that my kids learn in school how the Maccabees beat the Hellenists and prevented assimilation in the land of Israel (which certainly included copying pagan rituals, drinking eggnog, and "cultural-holiday" music).


I've got some bad news for you, Joe. If your kids are decking the halls in "Hanukkah paraphernalia," then they're doing so as part of the modern Jewish impulse to beef up Hanukkah as a reaction to the pervasiveness of Christmas. (If there's a Talmudic tradition of putting up dreidel kitsch around the house, I haven't heard of it.)

You can bash assimilation all you want, but even your supposedly untainted practice is a reflection of that history and interaction. Unless you're locked up in a self-imposed ghetto in Mea Shearim or Bnei Brak, feel free to consider yourself a Hellenizer along with the rest of us. But don't feel bad, we're not the demons you seem to think we are. Just drop by for a bissel caroling some night and we'll welcome you with open arms, and even see if we can find you some kosher egg nog.

FD said...

Those designer sufganiyot are AMAZING!!

Gila said...

"Grandma got run over by a reindeer".... I LOVE that song! And Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You.

I do not miss Christmas or the insanity, but the carols were nice....

Lakewood Falling Down said...

CBS radio news had a TOP OF THE HOUR story about the difficulty of individuals trying to sing carols. Apparently the range is difficult, so most sing in groups, hence caroling together rather than singing off key alone. Why this was a top of the hour story, I don't know...

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

LFD: Difficulty singing carols and so every sings together? That sounds suspiciously like a Carlebach minyan :)

To Colin: I must admit I was totally bowled over this morning by seeing your comment, and I apologize for not replying sooner!

My thoughts on your comment:

From my experience growing up in the states, loads of Jews including religious ones enjoy a good Christmas carol sing-along.

Growing up in the States, (granted, it was the NYC area), I never knew anyone Jewish who went caroling. Maybe my community wasn't that pluralistic, but I didnt have any friends (Reform, Conservative of Orthodox) who went caroling. I never did...nor ever thought about it as something I would ever do.

Surely from time to time you must have caught yourself humming along to jingle bells or silent night?

Yes, I have (though never Silent night) -- and the tune of "Deck the halls"harmonizes perfectly with "Maoz Tzur". While I know that the tune for Maoz Tzur is based on Lutheran hymn from the 16th century, my understanding is that "Deck the Halls" is much more recent, and based on a Welsh song from the 18th century.

However, there's still a difference between humming a tune (or even appreciating a tune from the radio) and actually going out to organize a Carol!

I don’t believe any harm is done by a communal group of friends getting together to sing some songs about Christmas.

I guess its a matter of perspective. Christmas songs are usually extremely religious in nature (offering praise to Jesus, etc) and while the tune might be appealing -- the words are simply not palatable to Jews.

Would it be so strange for a group of Christians to sing Maoz Tsur and spin a dreidel? I think not

Strange? Absolutely. Almost comical. Case in point -- see this video. Yes, I can appreciate the video, but I wouldnt organize people to sing it. I would much rather organize something Jewish related.

just my thoughts - happy holidays y'all

Colin - thanks for dropping by, and for offering your opinion!

A Very Happy Chanuka to you!

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Gila: Those are not Carols...but songs about Christmas. There's a big difference between the songs you mentioned, and traditional "caroling" which is devotional and religious. Caroling always includes the "favorite" carols:

Away in a Manger
Oh Come, All Ye Faithful
Angels, From the Realms of Glory
Angels We Have Heard on High
From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

And many others...

Christmas was historically a terrible time for the Jewish people, as Christians used it as an excuse to kill Jews. With this in mind, I can't imagine why a Jew with this historical understanding, would want to sing religious Christmas carols?

(you should really read this link to get a better perspective on this terrible day in our history)

Saturnalia was the forerunner of modern Christmas:

(some excerpts from the link I provided)

Some of the most depraved customs of the Saturnalia carnival were intentionally revived by the Catholic Church in 1466 when Pope Paul II, for the amusement of his Roman citizens, forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. An eyewitness account reports, “Before they were to run, the Jews were richly fed, so as to make the race more difficult for them and at the same time more amusing for spectators. They ran… amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the Holy Father stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.”[5]

H. As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles. When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.”[6] On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Antisemitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

You already know my thoughts on the Kelemen article, Jameel. Suffice it to say his arguments has holes bigger than my bubbe's matzoh balls. When in Jewish history have we NOT had something bad happen to us? Presumably Kelemen's next article will say we can't celebrate July 4th because it coincides with assorted Jew-burnings, pogroms, Catherine the Great sealing the Pale of Settlement, not to mention the birthdays of Meyer Lansky and Michael Milken, oh the shandehs!

I agree that I have never heard of Jews caroling. However I would attribute this more to Jews being too smart to go wandering around outside where it's cold belting out songs when they could be inside with their families listening to a good CD.

Caroling always includes the "favorite" carols:

I call BS. With the several hundred million Americans celebrating various forms of Christmas it is a big mistake to presume you know all the details of what songs they sing or which ones happen to be their favorites. Besides the taste issue, you're overlooking that with so many Christmas songs in the canon, there are different categories of songs/carols. Some of the more religious/obscure ones are usually reserved for church, while more irreverent ones may be sung in the home, and some are in-between depending on the family and church people belong to.

While there are plenty of stupid Christmas songs and even-worse Christmas carols, there are still some that I consider classics- "Chestnuts roasting on an Open Fire" comes to mind, as does "Let it Snow." I don't see the egregious assimilation there, sorry. Some of it also has to do with who's singing it. I would be hard-pressed to feel any religious message coming through from a Frank Sinatra song, so I don't mind his "Silent Night." (That said, for a really bad song, take a listen to "It's Cold Outside.")

For the record, I would be happy to play some good Hanukkah music in December if anyone could demonstrate that such a thing exists and that they aren't just the same riffs on Maoz Tzur or insipid inanities about dreidels or latkes.

JoeSettler said...

Friar Yid: Besided all the Chanukah paraphernalia we've hung up (different pictures of Chanukiahs and dreidels my kids drew in school), we picked up various Chanukah CDs sold throughout Israel.

My kids love the Rock and Roll version of Maoz Tzur.

I have to turn down your offer to join you in caroling Xmas songs. If you were singing Jewish or Chanukah songs that would be a whole different story.

The back of the hill said...

Who would have thought Jewish anglos would be the biggest promoters of caroling...?

Bad-taste. It is what unites all of mankind. Urk. And ick. And feh.

If they all want is to sing together, I do not see anything wrong with Irish war songs, mediaeval ballads, or the Carmina Burana (but only the Carmina amatoria and Carmina potoria - the rest shmecks of a.z.).

Personally, I've always prefered the rousing bloodthirst of the Geuze Liederen to almost any carol.

Ben-Yehudah said...

B"H

Three possibilities:

1. You can take the Jew out of Galuth, but you can't necessarily succeed in taking the Galuth out of the Jew, even if he moves to Israel. Rav Kook ztz"l talked about Galuth P'nimith.

2. Missionary activity.

3. Have leftists become that desperate in their battle against Torah? Typically, the left has sided with Yishma'el, and the [so-called] right has not so recently been siding with Edom. You've got me...unless Erev Rav is behind this. Their role in this world, according to several, is to unify Yishma'el and Edom. Is this a prelude?

Tzipporah said...

Friar, there's a guitar-weilding huckster in our community who's come up with a great (irritating) Hanukkah song that we can't get out of our heads, especially since the Toddler keeps singing it. Not about latkes or dreidels, but about the "Light that shines over all creation." If he made a digital recording, I'd post it, but be assured that there ARE other songs out there.

HolyCityPrayer said...

It's already fallen into the black hole in our house, but last week's Maale haTorah daf kesher (the weekly school newsletter from our local No'am type school) reported how our 5th grade daughter's music class learned about "musika Gospel kushit" and iirc heard Maoz Tzur sung in that genre.

Gila said...

Regarding the lack of good Hannukah songs--agreed! As a general (if not absolute) rule...when it comes to literature, art and music, too often "piety" and "tsnius" is considered to be an acceptable substitute for "talent" or "skill". It is not. (Sorry-pet peeve).

As for the Christmas carols, a lot of it is really beautiful music. With the exception of Mariah Carey's song, I have not gone out of my way to listen to any of it, but I certainly will not condemn someone who does.

I am going to agree with Friar Yid's comments about Christmas. Bad stuff happened all year round.

What worries me more than carols, or Hellenization, is the really nasty, judgemental and condemning tone of some of the commenters--especially in light of the recent attacks in RBS. Just because you think music is pretty does not necessarily mean you are: a self-hating Jew, a Jew who hates Torah, or even secular.

Honestly, a few songs about peace and brotherhood would not be remiss here.

Batya said...

sad more than sick

Colin, "From my experience growing up in the states, loads of Jews including religious ones enjoy a good Christmas carol sing-along."

You remind me of the "vegetarians who eat fish."

I don't know where you're from, but I've never heard of such a thing. I have heard of non-religious Jews refusing to participate in public school choirs because of xmas songs, forcing a change in program.

Colin said...

Hi Batya

I would love to know why you are so fearful of a christmas song.

Is it because you are insecure with your own jewishness?.

Do you honestly believe that a bunch of people singing a christmas song will convert generations of jews into christians?

I, together with many of my jewish buddies grew up singing carols in our classroom and amazingly, I did not convert and am probably more Jewish today than most people who attended full time Jewish day schools.

Anonymous said...

Leviticus 18:3

After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do; and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes.

כְּמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ-מִצְרַיִם אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁבְתֶּם-בָּהּ, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ; וּכְמַעֲשֵׂה אֶרֶץ-כְּנַעַן אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי מֵבִיא אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה, לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ, וּבְחֻקֹּתֵיהֶם, לֹא תֵלֵכוּ.

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Anon- and how far should we take this? Should we stop wearing pants because "Gentiles do it?" How about putting on deodorant? If it's such a mitzvah to do without on Yom Kippur, how much more so all year round.

Wait, I just saw a Gentile eating a sandwich! Damn, one more thing I can't do.

...Incidentally, how exactly does one walk in a statute? A statue, I could understand, but a statute?

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Batya-

I don't know where you're from, but I've never heard of such a thing. I have heard of non-religious Jews refusing to participate in public school choirs because of xmas songs, forcing a change in program.

And I would support them all the way, because the public school should not be putting anyone in a situation where they might be uncomfortable and feel forced into doing something.

This is totally different from individual people or families CHOOSING to do something in their homes or a public park that you happen to personally disagree with. A public school doesn't have the right to force its students to eat pork, either, but that doesn't mean that I have a problem if some of those students decide to have a Barbecue.

(More tricky is when individual members of the family disagree- last year my brother and I nearly came to blows when he wanted to play a particularly bad cover of "Little Drummer Boy" for the 8th time.)

Anonymous said...

רבי אלעזר המודעי אומר, המחלל את הקודשים, והמבזה את המועדות, והמפר בריתו של אברהם אבינו, והמלבין פני חברו ברבים, והמגלה פנים בתורה--אף על פי שיש בידו מעשים טובים, אין לו חלק לעולם הבא.

Rabbi Elazar of Modi'in would say: One who profanes the kodoshim, degrades the Festivals, humiliates his friend in public, abrogates the covenant of our father Abraham, or who interprets the Torah contrary to its true intent---although he may possess Torah knowledge and good deeds, he has no share in the World to Come.

Ben-Yehudah said...

Gila, I happen to agree with much of your comment. For example, Handel's Messiah is beautiful, and appreciating the beauty of Wagner obviously does not mean that the listener shares Wagner's views.

Personally, I was not making generalizations. I was speaking about the possibilities of what was going on. Obviously there are other possibilities, including innocent appreciation of the beauty of the music.

However, I believe very strongly that a public display of songs whose content has its basis in avodah zarah is at the very least, inappropriate, even more so when it coincides [roughly] with the date of one of their idolatrous celebrations.

Being over zealous, and IMHO living in a state fear, about religous observance to the point of causing serious harm to fellow Jews is problematic. The spiritual illness of inviting avodah zara songs into a public display in a Jewish community [while denying Jews the right to perform misswoth in high schools] is even more repugnant to me.

Colin, I believe that you've completely missed the point. The fact that you [think that you] have come out of your Xmas carol singing unscathed is completely irrelevant.

triLcat said...

Does anyone have the lyrics to Seymour Rockoff's "rock of my security" or Destiny's "colored candles"

I feel like some Channuka caroling :)

aschoichet said...

A perfect demonstration of modern-day Hellenizers - and just in time for Hannukah. And in Modiin, no less! It's the perfect history lesson. 2160 years ago these types of people were fighting alongside Seleucid mercenaries against Matitiahu the Hasmonean and his sons in the Judean hills.

Lurker said...

Friar Yid (not Shlita): When in Jewish history have we NOT had something bad happen to us? Presumably Kelemen's next article will say we can't celebrate July 4th because it coincides with assorted Jew-burnings, pogroms, Catherine the Great sealing the Pale of Settlement, not to mention the birthdays of Meyer Lansky and Michael Milken, oh the shandehs!

Gila: I am going to agree with Friar Yid's comments about Christmas. Bad stuff happened all year round.

That is a total non-sequitur, and an incredibly ridiculous argument. Jews were never persecuted on July 4th as a part of the July 4th celebrations. By contrast, thousands of Jews were tortuted, raped, and murdered on Christmas in Europe, over a period of centuries, as an integral part of the Christmas festivities.

Are you really unable to comprehend such a fundamental distinction?

Friar Yid (not Shlita) said...

Lurker,

Of course it's ridiculous, and so is Kelemen's.

Here's the point: There is nothing inherently antisemitic about Christmas, particularly the contemporary secular variety. While I acknowledge the terrible deeds done to Jews on that day by Christians, and the motivations their religion played in those persecutions, presently the day is not (and need not be) defined by those actions.

As awful as those attacks were, there have also been plenty of Christmases where not a single Jew has been abused. Are we going to claim that those were "unrepresentative" of the "true" meaning of Christmas, which apparently is Jew-punching? If not, then the fact that historically we had psychotic hate-filled Christians using their holiday as an excuse and justification to attack us should not require us to spend the day sitting in sackcloth when present-day Christmas celebrations involve nothing remotely resembling those "bad old days."

There are plenty of reasons for Jews to individually or communally decide not to observe Christmas. But "Five hundred years they made us run laps in Rome to celebrate it" doesn't make my cut.

The Rebbetzin's Husband said...

Maybe they could make the experience truly multi-cultural and do it in Al-Aqsa... or the other Muqata...

cool yiddishe mama said...

A rabbi came to our shul a few years back and talked about this problem. There was a secular high school (forgot where in Israel) that chose CHRISTMAS as the theme of their Chanukah program. Also, he mentioned areas where the sale of "basar lavan" has been permitted in Jewish areas.

Anonymous said...

Christmas carols in Modiin during Channukah!

Does Alannis Morissette live in Modiin?

Yellow Boy

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