Article Discussion: Choosing Judaism Missing Christmas

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This topic has 3 voices, contains 2 replies, and was last updated by  Debbie B. 1443 days ago.

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April 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm #460

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Click here to read the article: Choosing Judaism Missing Christmas

October 18, 2010 at 1:59 pm #5133

vercacity

Hi Laura, very nice article…and it’s nice to know that someone else out there has gone through the same kind of “issues”. My family has also converted to Judaism about five years ago, I have four kids ranging from 7 to 1 and the passed three years I have also been trying to figure out ways to incorporate my “happy” memories of the seasons into our new beliefs, most especially for my kids. I was actually just browsing the internet for some ideas on new decorations that I can make. I also have a small candle business and have had some unique ideas for menorah candles that I want to try out here in teh next week or so. I stumbled upon your article and I totally understand what you are saying about the lack of deco…and then what there is….yeah. haha. It’s nice to not feel so guilty for missing “christmas”. You are right, it’s not missing what it is per-say…it’s missing all the memories and excitement that surrounded it. It’s been a battle of loneliness and even alienation…we don’t live in an especially “jewish” area and my family is very much catholic and we keep our distance from them during the holidays, not that we are on the very best of terms anyway thanks to our conversion. I might as well have told them I was athiest. So anyway, when my kids are ooohing and awwing at the lights EVERYWHERE I’m desperately seeking ways to make it equally as special for them every year so that they aren’t wishing to celebrate that instead…

I was starting to feel depressed again with the beginning of my annual search of making Chanukah better than christmas and reading this helped me feel not so alone, so again, thank you. I hope you and your family have a wonderful Chanukah this year.

October 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm #5134

Debbie B.

It is really a losing battle to try to make Chanuka outshine Christmas. Chanuka is a less major holiday in Judaism than Christmas is in Christianity. And maybe its a blessing that Chanuka hasn’t been as exploited by marketers as Christmas has. My more religious Christian friends work hard to make sure that their children understand the holiday beneath all the glitz.

You’re right about the warm memories being what you miss, not the decorations per se. So work on the hands-on and family participation aspects of Chanuka (and other Jewish holidays–see below). Make potato latkes or jelly donuts from scratch. Make applesauce to go along with the latkes from scratch. Get a beeswax candle-making kit and roll your own candles. Make your own menorah. Learn and sing Chanuka songs (can buy CDs of these). Play dreidel.

My main advice is to be sure to really celebrate the major Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Pesach. And there’s Purim and Simchat Torah and Shavuot. And Rosh Hashanah has many ritual celebratory aspects as well. My kids have told me that they feel sorry for their non-Jewish friends because they don’t seem to have as many holidays to celebrate. It is also true that my kids have often visited their grandparents at Christmas so some might say that it’s only easier for them because they still have been able to experience Christmas. But particularly on years when Christmas and Hanukkah overlap, we have not visited my parents and have not celebrated Christmas in any way during those years. And I don’t remember my kids ever expressing any regret about that. They see Christmas as a nice holiday that is not their own.

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