It’s a little ironic that Chanukah started as a holiday celebrating getting rid of foreign ideas, because in my mind, Chanukah is Christmas for Jews. Wait- that’s a little too cynical. Let me explain. I’m not Conservative or Reform. I was raised Yeshivish and still practice that way. It’s just that the two holidays are so tightly knit together in my mind, I can’t make them apart.
I love snow on Chanukah, I love getting presents, singing Maoz Tzur, eating latkas, playing dreidel with the kids, eating chocolate coins, and lighting the menorah. I also love Christmas lights, Christmas songs, going to 5th Ave, seeing Christmas displays, Christmas movies, coke with Santa on it, Christmas carolers at the mall, and hot chocolate. It’s what I grew up with. These are things that I have nice memories of doing as a kid. These are all part of me. There’s no separation in my subconscious or wherever of one holiday or the other. It’s hard to explain, but I think that if I went to Israel and didn’t see all the Christmas lights and music, I wouldn’t feel like it was Chanukah. I’m Jewish and American, and I don’t feel guilty about it. Well, at least anymore.
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