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This post of mine needed some clearing up.

Wish me a Happy Chanukah. Don't do it because I wished you a Merry Christmas.

Wish me a Happy Purim.
Wish me a Happy Pesach.
Wish me a Peaceful and Restful Shabbat.
Wish me a Happy Rosh Hashanah.
Wish me a meaningful Yom Kippur.
Wish me a solemn Yom Hashoa.
Wish me a happy Yom HaAtzmaut.
Wish me a spooky Tisha B'Av.

In fact, wish me all of them in Hebrew. I wish you your holidays in your language of prayer, wish me mine in my language of prayer. I need to be hearing "CHAG SAMEACH!" "L'SHANAH TOVAH TIKATEVU!"

Don't pretend to be all special and all knowledgeable when I wish you Merry Christmas by saying "Happy Chanukah" back. Chances are, Chanukah was two weeks before and you never even noticed.

Chanukah is a VERY MINOR HOLIDAY. It's no more important than any other holiday. I'd put it slightly over Yom Haatzmaut, and that's only because it lasts longer. Chanukah has the exact same theme as most of our holidays, "They tried to kill us. We survived. Let's eat!" It is not special, it is not "the Christmas" for Jews.

THIS is the WORST, STUPIDEST conversation ever.

"Merry Christmas!"
"I don't celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish"
"Well, then, Happy Chanukah"


This is why I also say "Merry Christmas" back to any known Christian who says it to me. I repeat "Happy Holidays" back to anyone who chooses that form of saying "Merry Christmas" (and lets face it, in this society, "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings," and many other seemingly-neutral terms are all saying "MERRY CHRISTMAS pssst I'm trying to be politically correct"

I cannot wait for the next year that 25 Kislev (the date of Chanukah) falls in November or early December (the Hebrew calendar is lunar, and we have a leap month every seven years, which changes the dates around on the English [Roman] calendar). No one will say Happy Chanukah until after it's passed. The same people who tried so hard to be politically correct this year by wishing me a Happy Chanukah will let it fly by without a glance. The malls won't have added that cute little menorah until they put the Christmas decorations up. Wrapping paper won't even be sold by non-Jewish stores until it's too late. All the commercialized bull for Chanukah is only because it's convenient for people to make money. And they only do it around Christmastime.


~~~

That said, I love Christmas time. I don't mind when people who don't know my heritage wish me a Merry Christmas. I love the smell of Frazer firs, the warming scent of Christmas cookies, Christmas carols, etc. Christmas is an absolutely beautiful holiday, and GO ON! CELEBRATE IT! I'M NOT STOPPING YOU.

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
anditut
Dec. 24th, 2005 09:33 pm (UTC)
I understand that you're frustrated, and I'm sure that it's not without good reason, but when people wish you a Happy Chanukkah after you wish them a Merry Christmas, it's only because they are attempting to be sensitive to your beliefs, not because they necessarily think that the two are interchangeable. And yes, they may be ignorant, but their intention is good, just like when someone wishes you Happy Holidays, it's not just because they're afraid to be politically incorrect, but because they are trying to be sensitive. Keep in mind, too, that to many of us, Christmas has no religious value whatsoever, but is purely a reason to give and receive gifts, and celebrate with family and friends. I'm sure that Chanukkah is also used in the same manner, especially if it is as minor a holiday in the religious sense as you say it is.
ewtikins
Dec. 24th, 2005 09:36 pm (UTC)
Maybe there's some way you can educate people who wish you Happy Chanukah about what Chanukah is without sounding defensive. They are, as noted in another comment, making an effort to be sensitive and supportive.
enjoynathaniel
Dec. 24th, 2005 09:51 pm (UTC)
It may be minor to you, and while it is obvious that capitalism and American desire for material possessions has pimped-slapped Hannukah, I see it as a time for educating non-Jews about how cool we really are (and why we don't need to take Pagan holidays and transform them into some odd sort-of-related-to-our-religion holiday)

"The Hebrew word, Hannukah, contains the root word for education, 'Hinnuch.' Going back a few centuries, Hannukah was a customary time for neighborhood citizens to convene and discuss social issues with a heavy emphasis on educational matters. It was a time that important educational decisions were made and teachers were shown great appreciation. They were given bonuses on a personal level, and educational institutions were also provided with extra funding on Hannukah." (from Poker, Dreaidel, and Hannukah)

Let's do the morally right thing here and educate the ignorant masses that religion is really about religion, and not presents.
a1an
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:04 pm (UTC)
why cant religion include presents?
enjoynathaniel
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:54 pm (UTC)
...meant in the sense that people give presents on holidays without bothering once to stop and think about any religious significance of the gift giving to the actual holiday
larryv
Dec. 24th, 2005 09:53 pm (UTC)
My friend Liz was born a week after I was. If she wished me a happy birthday the day before hers I don't think I'd get offended. She just knows that our birthdays are close and was nice enough to remember that much.
schnamara
Dec. 24th, 2005 10:30 pm (UTC)
Ah-main (as in NOT Amen).
thisgirliknow
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:42 am (UTC)
thank you! thats an "AA" as in "mate" that is underneath that mem!
smofbabe
Dec. 24th, 2005 11:16 pm (UTC)
I cannot wait for the next year that 25 Kislev (the date of Chanukah) falls in November or early December...All the commercialized bull for Chanukah is only because it's convenient for people to make money. And they only do it around Christmastime.

If only! I'm afraid that the adding of the menorah to the holiday decorations and the adding of "and Happy Chanukah to all our Jewish friends" occurs even when Chanukah is in November and is way over before anyone starts their Xmas shopping. I know that many people are just trying to be inclusive when they say "happy Chanukah" after "Merry Xmas" so they don't leave anyone out but I think that they'd want to know that many Jews would rather that they just wish a happy Chanukah during Chanukah, and that Jews don't mind feeling left out of the Xmas season as it's not our holiday.

Anecdote: In the SF Bay Area the Federation does a Sunday fundraising phone-a-thon twice a year, and the second one is towards the end of the secular year. One year, Chanukah was very early. I was driving there to volunteer and was listening to the local news radio station when they broadcast an interview with the woman heading the phone-a-thon. She explained that everyone in the Jewish community knows about the event and expects the phone calls. The interviewer says "Don't you have trouble with people being out doing their holiday shopping?" There's a moment of silence and then the Federation woman says quietly, "Actually, our holiday was over last week."
negativeneve
Dec. 24th, 2005 11:34 pm (UTC)
If its not such a big deal, then why do you keep posting about it?

People wouldn't even know about Chanukah if it weren't for someone out there who wanted to make it similiar to Christmas. And that someone probably wasn't Christian.
tevarin
Dec. 24th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
I don't think the commercialized bull around Hanukkah is all about making money; I think it's pushed by Jewish parents who want their kids to feel ok about not getting all the presents and movies and visits by relatives and fancy decorations that American Christians get. And, yeah, that's kind of defensive and inauthentic, but it's well intended, and I don't think we can blame the goyim for catering to our insecurity by selling hanukkah cards and whatnot.
morosejew
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
In fact, wish me all of them in Hebrew. I wish you your holidays in your language of prayer

Do you wish them Merry Christmas in Latin?
THIS is the WORST, STUPIDEST conversation ever.

"Merry Christmas!"
"I don't celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish"
"Well, then, Happy Chanukah"


I firmly believe this is just someone trying not to offend you or to make an effort to include you in their joy. It is a sign of respect when someone makes the effort.

I know when I am not wearing my yellow star people tell me all the time they had no idea I was Jewish.

We are Jews, It's their Holy day. Lets all get over it. If you don't want to be hassled on Christmas go on vacation to Israel.
thisgirliknow
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:44 am (UTC)
I know Latin.
Most Christians don't.
a1an
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:40 pm (UTC)
No Christian wishes another Christian "Merry Christmas" in Latin.

Latin is the liturgical language of some Roman Catholics (for instance, the Pope will lead, or has already led, Christmas service in Latin). But the phrase "Merry Christmas" is not part of the Christmas liturgy--in Latin or any other language.

The actual liturgical greeting for Christians in the liturgy is "Christ is born!" and the response: "Glorify Him!"

I wonder if you all would be offended if I started saying that instead of Merry Christmas. The thing is, I wouldnt, because that phrase and response is usually said among Christians at the Christmas feast/liturgy. And perhaps the ensuing week-but only among Christians to each other, and not necessarily in Latin but in whatever language they celebrate the feast in, be it Latin, Greek, Church Slavonic, Swahili, Arabic or Aramaic, etc.
thisgirliknow
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
Also, as I pointed out, I have no problems with Christmas. I have no issues with people wishing me a Merry Christmas (unless they are a friend and happen to know I don't celebrate Christmas). I have NO QUALMS with their holy day. I have problems with them seeing Chanukah as OUR big "holy day" and assuming its a big deal just because its around christmas time.
coldtoast
Dec. 25th, 2005 03:54 am (UTC)
Along with above commenter's mention of Latin...

If I moved to Israel and someone wished me a "happy whatever-jewish-holiday", it would never occur to me to be offended that they offered me a blessing. If that day overlapped with Easter, I still wouldn't be offended.

Face it: this is the USA. MOST people celebrate christmas. Thus, it is not a huge leap to assume that you celebrate christmas.

It just seems like it bothers you so much that you miss people's point: they're wishing you well. The world is an uncaring place- I'd take it where I can get it, whether their syntax or political correctness or verbage isn't to your liking.

That said, I understand your wanting to tell people about the differences in the holiday celebrations.
(Deleted comment)
a1an
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:29 pm (UTC)
what are you celebrating with this holiday? just the need to get attention?
lizblizz
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:59 am (UTC)
Seriously man, just let it go. As said above, people are just trying to be nice. I'm glad you're trying to educate your f-list, but that's really not going to change anything. Now I just know not to wish you a happy anything, for fear of getting it wrong. lol.

Sometimes you let things go... otherwise, I guess I could take offense any time someone wished me a Merry Christmas (being that I'm not religious).
newtsamson
Dec. 25th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
It annoys the hell out of me when people wish me a Merry Christmas, but I know they don't know any better. When i was a kid though it made me feel bad.
cheaptricks
Dec. 25th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)
If you want everyone to wish you L'Shana Tovah and whatnot (yes I'm Jewish), you should be giving them well-wishings on Ash Wednesday, Lent, Advent, Maundy Thursday, and any others I have forgotten, as I'm not extremely well-versed in the holidays of Christians.
Whether people wish me Merry Christmas because they don't know or forget I'm Jewish, or wish me Happy Hanukah because they do know and choose to recognize my heritage, I am grateful and wish them a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or what-have-you as well.

Just because Hanukah is a minor holiday and isn't as significant as, oh, Yom Kippour, Pesach...Hell, even Sukkot is a bigger deal than Hanukah for orthodox and hassidic jews (you left that one off the list)...take the well wishing and be thankful no one is telling you to drop dead.

PS: I highly doubt anyone would want to wish you (or any other jew, except jews) a "restful and peaceful Shabbat" every Friday night.
madamebella
Dec. 25th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
Yes. We are the minority in this country, and if the majority cannot lavishly express their beliefs and celebrate their holidays, we won't be able to either.

I send Christmas cards and say Merry Christmas to my Christian friends. Most of them with me Happy Holidays around the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I'm pretty blessed that most of my friends realize that my big holiday is not Chanukah. Many other gentiles do not. In fact, most gentiles do not realize that Easter should be their big holiday, but that's another discussion.

So, what can you do? If it's someone you know, you can explain the Chanukah isn't that big a deal in Judaism. If it's not someone you know, just smile. What freaking harm is done except for the harm you let be done or think is being done?

a1an
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:14 pm (UTC)
most gentiles do not realize that Easter should be their big holiday, but that's another discussion.

made me laugh a little

you mean most Christians should know that Easter should be their big holiday, or, holy day

speaking as a Christian, if a Christian doesnt know that Easter is a more importnat holiday than Christmas, then they need to be educated.

Easter is indeed the "feast of feasts". It is not listed among the twelve major Christian feats, because it is the feast of feats, the feast that all others derive from: it is great that some Jews know this, it is pitiful that some Christians dont know this

I do think it is valuable for Christians and Jews to teach each other about their traditions without being judgmental and rejecting the validity of each other's traditions. I believe they can stand side by side even if they will never coincide
madamebella
Dec. 25th, 2005 09:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I meant Christians or those whom identify with Christianity. Sorry.
a1an
Dec. 25th, 2005 01:26 pm (UTC)
THIS is the WORST, STUPIDEST conversation ever.

"Merry Christmas!"
"I don't celebrate Christmas, I'm Jewish"
"Well, then, Happy Chanukah"


I am glad you feel that way. Takes the pressure off of me as a Christian to not offend a Jew by not saying the right thing. I am not being sarcastic. I just wrote an entry in my journal about how one guy at work always calls people (on business calls) and says Merry Christmas to them. Having some Jewish friends and knowing a tiny bit about Jewish religion, I used to cringe when he said that, because I thought what if the person he is talking to is Jewish? Anyway, I wont substitute Chanukah for Christmas ever again. I think that has been a valuable part of your post.

This is why I also say "Merry Christmas" back to any known Christian who says it to me. I repeat "Happy Holidays" back to anyone who chooses that form of saying "Merry Christmas" (and lets face it, in this society, "Happy Holidays," "Season's Greetings," and many other seemingly-neutral terms are all saying "MERRY CHRISTMAS pssst I'm trying to be politically correct"

Well, I am glad you have the freedom, as a Jew, to say Merry Christmas. But I wouldnt say that the push to say "Happy Holidays" is a way to say "Merry Christmas" in disguise. It is a politically correct way of trying to not offend anybody who may not celebrate Christmas.

But I think you bring up a good point: that people dont have to be offended when they hear Merry Christmas. And I think in our society we are currently so focused on "not offending" anyone, that we say this "happy holiday" or "seasons greetings" phrase, which barely carries any meaning at all, beyond "have some warm fuzzies with your family or go get drunk on your day off from work--whichever you choose" we are watering down any meaning to saying the damn phrase. It is a stupid phrase. I am with you there.
katiethewriter
Dec. 26th, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
Didn't Chanukah start on the 24th this year? So we'd still be in the midst of it, right? Or am I completely wrong?

If it is still going on, then, um- Is it Chag Sameach? Is that what you said?

(I'm not trying to sound like a completely ignorant dope- just trying to get it right-ish.)
thisgirliknow
Dec. 26th, 2005 05:38 pm (UTC)
started the night of the 25th. first day is the 26th. Yes, Chag Sameach- It means happy holidays!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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