Why this Jew loves Christmas
By Irwin N. Graulich December 20, 2004
I am a religious Jew who simply loves Christmas. In fact, any Jew or non Christian who somehow gets "offended" because the majority religion in America makes such a big public splash about their biggest holiday is a total fool. A creche on a public or private lawn is a beautiful sight. It means that people have gone to the trouble of sharing lovely visuals with all of America, expressing the beauty of their heritage and its spiritual message to humanity.
The Jews who keep "kvetching" (complaining) about manger scenes at city halls and Christmas carols in public school are more than likely to be the ones "uncomfortable" with their own Jewishness. These are the same malcontents who were so disturbed with the Mel Gibson film, predicting pogroms in New York and Los Angeles.
Even otherwise fine men like Rabbi Marvin Hier, Abe Foxman and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach reacted incorrectly and contributed to "The Passion's" success with their buffoonery and ridiculous public relations tactics, all of which truly embarrassed God and Torah Judaism. Mel Gibson probably blesses them with "Hail Mary's" each week as he counts the profits from his film's $500 million gross.
The band of Christmas complainers are an example of the leftover '60's generation of selfish narcissists who are constantly offended by everything from the God word in school to anyone holding the ideal of heterosexual marriage. What this anti-God crowd does not realize is that the more one believes that a divine Creator monitors our behavior and judges us, the less we will need the courts and judges to do so.
Personally, I sang religious Christmas carols in my classroom in PS 164 in Brooklyn, which included the word, ready for this folks, "Jesus." Amazingly, I did not convert and am probably more Jewish today than most people who attended full time Jewish day schools. Remarkably, saying the "J" word did not affect me.
Attention all Christians. I would like to publicly thank all of you for the gorgeous Christmas decorations on lawns, the powerful Christmas music and spirit, the beautiful Christmas trees in our White House, and those incredible Christmas windows along Fifth Avenue. If not for your brilliant religious marketing skills, Chanukah would probably have gone the way of Shavuot, a more significant Jewish holiday which few Jews celebrate because there is no popular Christian holiday surrounding it.
In all probability, it is the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree that has made the large Chanukah menorah near Central Park even possible. American Christians have taught Jews the valuable lesson that it is ok to be public with your religion as long as it is not coercive or obnoxious. The secret is making it into a beautiful event that can be shared by all Americans, where you are truly "lighting up" the lives of so many individuals.
Of course the government should not favor any one specific religion. The Founders wanted a secular government, as per the Constitution, but longed for a religious society. The concept of separation of church and state, which is not even mentioned in the Constitution, has come to mean the removal of God from every area except home and place of worship. Now isn't that a stupid idea!
While American Christians have learned the importance of promoting God, it is non-Jewish Jews and atheists who are at the forefront of the campaign to remove the "G" word from our classrooms and the public sphere. What has become important to these so-called progressives is that fifth graders know how to place a condom on a banana.
Although America's money says In God We Trust and the president is sworn in on a bible, there are some secularists and atheists who still wish to hold onto their sophisticated scientific belief that hydrogen and oxygen actually created the world. I say God bless them!
Making a religious holiday into a spectacle is the American Christian forte. Walk down any Main Street or shopping mall during this holiday season and you will see more smiles on children and adult faces than at any other time. However, we can certainly go overboard when a "Holy Day" becomes exclusively a "shopping holiday." That is the danger in removing Christ from Christmas.
There are Christians all over America who spend a tremendous amount of time and money putting up decorations for the public to enjoy. Wouldn't it be a great idea for Jews and other fellow Americans to knock on their doors and thank them; or even give them a bottle of wine or small gift of appreciation. That is the spirit of America where we truly share our multiculturalism.
American Christianity is quite different from any other Christianity in history. Without it, Judaism and Israel could pretty much close its doors for business. Jews should be saying a daily blessing for American Christians, especially Evangelicals aka the Christian Right. The Judeo-Christian partnership upon which America is founded is a critical bond for both groups.
But the rootless aka the secular left, hate the rooted with a passion. They would like everyone to be rootless just like the ACLU, university professors and themselves. Secularism is selfish because it means that the government has a duty to you, whereas religious means you have a duty to society. Look around and see that it is mostly Jewish Jews who honor Christians and non-Jewish Jews (ignorant of Judaism) who fear and complain about them.
So on December 24th, this Jew will think of that wonderful song, "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas." This simple tune should conjure up untold pleasures in the hearts and minds of most thinking people. Therefore, I say thank you to every American Christian for sharing your passions and may I wish each of you, "A Merry Christmas ... and to all a good night!"
Views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of israelinsider.
||Irwin N. Graulich is a well known motivational speaker on ethics, religion and Judaism.
|A child of Holocaust survivors, he has been successful in showing religious and secular people the need for God-based ethics. Irwin considers himself a multi-denominational, serious Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jew.