You-know-what (hint: starts with “ch”) has totally jumped the shark (chark?) now, with freelance writer Jordana Horn determined to squeeze out every last drop of chontroversy and, presumably, paychecks from the topic.
With Chanukah just a few days away, and Christmas not far behind, the Intertubes are not surprisingly very, very congested with interesting Chanukah-Christmas Chatter. (Isn’t it cool that each of those three words starts with C-H, but in each one it’s pronounced differently? Clearly I’ve been spending a lot of time with my learning-to-read 5-year-old!)
I know I promised you some December Dilemma resources.
But in the meantime, here’s an example of what NOT to do should you be invited over the home of an intermarried relative who has a “towering” Christmas tree “decorated with blue tinsel and blue ornaments, topped with a lit Star of David”:
I asked Marlene how she could so blatantly disrespect the Jewish religion by having such a sacrilegious symbol in her home. Perhaps I went too far when I asked if she thought her grandparents, who were Holocaust survivors, would approve.
On Sunday I had the honor of giving a talk at The Museum of Jewish Heritage on the so-called December Dilemma. I’m posting an edited version of my speech here, along with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s brilliant “Can I Interest You In Chanukah?,” which, because I love it so much, I had to include in the speech:
I’m going to start today, as I started a column a few years ago, with the story of the Jewish boy who got Christmas presents from the family dog.
The key is to come up with strategies that affirm Jewish pride while not adding to the politicized atmosphere of Christmas.
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
Jewish Week Online Columnist
Q: It’s that time of year, when everyone everywhere is saying “Merry Christmas” to me, even people who know that I am Jewish. Should I simply smile and repeat the greeting or politely correct the greeter and say, “I’m sorry, I don’t observe Christmas.”
Hat tip to Jeffrey Goldberg and The Jewish Channel for bringing to our attention a series of scare-tactic commercials the Israeli government's Ministry of Absorption is running to encourage Israeli Jews in the U.S. to return home — before it’s too late.
By too late, I mean before they start dating clueless Americans (Jewish or otherwise) who don’t “understand” Israeli holidays like Yom HaZikaron, the day of remembrance, and before they start having children who call them “Daddy” instead of “Abba” and talk about Christmas instead of Chanukah.
To my delight, Goldberg, who can always be relied upon for an astute analysis but has not previously, to the best of my knowledge, had much to say about intermarriage, noted in his discussion of the Israeli government’s $790,000 ad campaign, that while his views are “complicated,” intermarriage “can also be understood as an opportunity.”