Discussion in 'Judaism' started by Disarm, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. Disarm

    Disarm Member

    "Most Jews (even many highly assimilated Jews) are uncomfortable about Christmas. We don't object to Christians celebrating Christmas, but we don't particularly want to celebrate it ourselves, and there is enormous social pressure to celebrate Christmas, whether we want to or not. As one Jewish writer said, "just try telling a Christmas enthusiast that the creche in front of your post office makes you un-easy; suddenly, 'frosty' describes more than just the snowman." Many secular Christians have told me that Christmas is my holiday too, and some of them get very angry or even nasty when I tell them that I don't want to celebrate it, calling me "Grinch" or "Scrooge." I have no doubt that before this Christmas season is over, I will receive a few emails telling me that I should celebrate Christmas; I get them every year. So if Jews don't celebrate Christmas, then what do we do on December 25?...etc."-

    Personally I find christmas hard, because literally everyone I know bar my boyfriend not only celebrates it but either thinks I'm in a 4 year phase (I'll 'grow out' of being an active jew) or just believes my faith is none of their business..the second one sounds nice but either way they believe I will do exactly as they do. Christmas for them is just the same as ever, wishing me merry christmas constantly, I get talkings to on their expecting presents and giving me presents like it or not. It hardly bothers me, giving presents, cause I understand how hard it would be for my family to try and be fair to everyone but not spend a penny on me; but I don't know, being told "merry christmas" drives me insane, I get up to about 3 days before christmas fine, then I end up going mental and getting really upset that no matter how often we've discussed how I feel about it etc, they still say it..

    But anyway, the point was I guess it wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't so stressful for me to feel like people respected my choice and actually took me seriously. So I was wondering whether I overreact (probably to an extent), whether anyone else goes through this, or basically what you guys do in december (be it celebrate it anyway, run away, or somewhere in between)
  2. the dauer

    the dauer Member

    My difficulty around Christmas is non-Jews thinking Hanukah is the Jewish Christmas. I realize this is simply ignorance, but it really does bother me that most people could give a skeletal identification of Hanukah while having no idea what Pesah is all about.

    What do I do? This year I was with my girlfriend's family. I didn't feel so bad about being there because they are not religious and they really didn't do anything besides open up presents. I did feel a little disgusted at how materialistic the whole thing was.

  3. feministhippy

    feministhippy Member

    I think the whole atmosphere of Christmas bothers me. They took one of the most, if not the most, significant holidays to a group of people, and cheapened it somehow. I am not a Christian (I'm sure you've all figured that one out by now), and I understand that most Christians are probably not bothered by this, but it bothers me a great deal. Christmas is a day dedicated to the birth of who they believe is the "messiah", and now there's a fat guy in a red suit in front of it and people claim it's a secular holiday. That's why people are suprised when they hear that Jews don't celebrate Christmas, because they don't look at Christmas as a religious holiday.

    My grandmother's a Catholic, and so she does celebrate it, and I respect that. My family does go to her house on Christmas sometimes. It makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I don't belong there. It's not my holiday, after all. Why should I take any part of it? I want to support her on her day, like she so often does for us, but I feel so alienated when I go there. I always wondered why no one else in my family felt that way. Or maybe did, and they were just better at hiding it that I am. I don't know.

    However, I do have some avantages in this area. I was blessed to have been born in an area with a lot of different kinds of religious and ethnic groups. There is a large number of Jews where I live. I can actually think of 5 synagoges with reasonable sized congragations within an hour of my house. The point is, the people in my area are no stranger to different belief systems. When I was little, other kids didn't get why I wasn't up at 5 AM Christmas morning to see if I could catch a glipse at Santa Claus, but they were rarely argumentitive with me about it. Now I very seldom have a problem in that area at all.
  4. HuckFinn

    HuckFinn Senior Member

  5. the dauer

    the dauer Member


    he does make a good point about Jewish education. I feel the same way. But Hanukah does not remember a miracle. Hanukah means "rededication" as in the rededication of the Temple after defeating the Assyrian-Greeks. It's like the 4th of July. The miracle of the oil is only mentioned in a later source, when the rabbis were trying to subdue the political origins of Hanukah -- also by not including macabees in the Tanakh -- because there was another oppressive empire, this time Rome, and they did not want people to feel encouraged to battle Rome on account of the victory of the Maccabees.


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