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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Thursday, December 15, 2005
I Love Christmas
There. I said it. I'm an Orthodox Jew and I love Christmas!

Lots of nice songs. Pretty decorations. People acting nicely towards one another. What's not to like? (I mean, I'm not putting up a tree or anything, I just don't have a visceral anti-Christmas reaction every December.)

I'm not sure why many of my co-religionists like the Jewcy Chanukah party attendees (free reg req'd) are so riled up. You feel like a minority at Christmas? News flash: you ARE a minority. Is it because they are avowedly cultural Jews? Am I secure at this season because I know how much else I have to celebrate? For me, that might be it. I don't know how other observant Jews feel, necessarily.

The best part of the above article, by the way, is Triumph the Insult Comic Dog's telling these pishers to stop trying to be so cool and go learn some Torah already!

Hey Ralphie...I just wrote something similar on my blog. I'm with you, a fellow Jew who loves Christmas songs and decorations, the lights, etc...I especially love watching crazed people in the malls running around spending money on people they can't stand. I love this whole time of year.
So it was you who redid the sidebar photo? My opinion falls somewhere in the middle. There's lots I like about Christmas: The warm spirit, the festive atmosphere, some of the songs are great. Then there's the annoying stuff: The local light music radio station plays holiday music NON-STOP starting thanksgiving - that's too much for me; the dorks with the reindeer sweaters and christmas tree earrings at work that Mirty so aptly described (You know her yeah? I'm too tired to put in a link); also, why must the celebration be sooo public? By all means, decorate your home and desk space, but why are christmas decorations hanging on the public streets? For that matter, I don't see why any holiday's decorations should be in the street excepting those of an American holiday like Independence Day. Unless there's an inyan of pirsumei nisah;)
I wouldn't be so sure that our pirsumei nisah thing didn't rub off on them a little bit sometime long ago...

As for the side photo - turns out there are actual, bona fide Christians who run the Coffeehouse alongside us Jew-folk.
I love it all too. Although, to be fair, we live in SoCal. I understand from PT and Mrs Balabusta that there are many people in the midwest who go completely over-the-top around the holidays and become impossible to bear. People who decorate every room of their homes with different Christmas themes and insist that the Christmas music be piped into every region of their workplace. I guess that could become annoying.
Oh, and what the heck is pirsumei nisah?
Ralphie - Nice post. From my point of view as a religious Christian who loves Christmas (who nonetheless tries to be objective), it seems like a friendly holiday. I'm glad you get something out of it.

Ayelet - Doctor Bean was kind enough to change the sidebar image for me, at my request. I think the country celebrates Christmas as a national holiday because most Americans are pretty excited about Christmas. I like to think that, if there was a celebration that did not apply to me but made a lot of people happy, I would be okay with it.

I'll also ask the question what is pirsumei nisah?
Sorry - that roughly translates as "publicizing the miracle" - one of the laws of Channukah and the reason why we light the chanukah candles. These candles should be displayed in the window for all passersby to see (originally the command was to put the candles - or vials of oil, anyway - outside the door, but this probably wouldn't work so well today).
I do not love Xmas. Down here in TX, I am met with mangers everywhere I turn. I am counting down the days until this holiday is over.
I'm pretty much not religious and I love Christmas too. For me, it's mostly about committing time to spend with family and friends, and then enjoying that time together. Beyond that, great food, nostalgic music, and it's usually snowy where I go. Christmas rocks.
Oven - I didn't mean to be offensive. Reading over my previous comment, I realize I came across sounding more "annoyed" about Christmas than I actually am. And like I said, the warm, festive atmosphere and the holiday cheer that spreads are things I do enjoy.
When my son, Mordechai, asked about the Christmas decorations adorning our apartment building's lobby and halls, I was surprised(?)/interested(?) to see his reaction. I explained that the decorations were in celebration of a non-Jewish holiday. He asked me why non-Jews have more holidays than we do. I found that interesting because, actually, we probably have more (certainly if you only count the ones he hears about which are basically limited to Halloween, Christmas and maybe Valentine's day - I don't count Thanksgiving as non-Jewish because I don't think it has anything to do with religion). I guess he was feeling that the approach of the non-Jewish holidays felt more grandiose because it was out there, on the streets, in the shop windows. His holidays are relegated to his school and home. I'm not sure what my point is. I guess I'm confused as to how I feel about all this and am unsure about how to explain things to my children.
My kids love the Christmas lights. We even take them down to Beverly Hills to see the stores' displays. They're fun. My kids are still young yet so it's hard to gauge, but they don't seem jealous at this point. They get the same kind of lights on their sukkah every year, they get plenty of holidays throughout the year (even though I tell them, they don't quite get that the majority of the city, country, world, isn't Jewish), and they get Shabbat every week! What's to envy?
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