Jews on Christmas: Explained

November 20, 2023
Aliza Young

Van Nuys, California, United States

Class of 2025

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Sometimes, the holidays can be hard. Especially being Jews, where Christmas is the primary holiday celebrated in winter, we tend to feel left out and out of place. To combat this, many Jews have created their own traditions during the wintertime to ensure they still have a fun Christmas day. The most important thing is to spend time with your family, celebrating your love for one another. 

The most well-known tradition Jews have is getting yummy Chinese takeout food on Christmas Eve. However, many people aren’t aware of the deep roots this has. In the 1930s, Jews would go get Chinese food on Sundays while the rest of the people in their neighborhood were at Church. Chinese restaurants are traditionally some of the only establishments that are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, hence the flock of Jews that eat there every year.

Many fun traditions can be started around Christmas time. For example, to counteract the overwhelming feeling of Christmas, my family and I watch Fiddler on the Roof every single Christmas Day together. It reminds us of our Jewish culture, and even though we may not be the majority, we are mighty in strength. If you end up feeling left out or upset on Christmas, maybe start a new tradition with your friends or family that you can look forward to every year.

Jews have always felt like outsiders on Christmas, as they look around and see a predominantly Christmas-centric environment around them. Personally, I know the hard feeling of opening TikTok or Instagram and seeing a “What I Got for Christmas Haul” or “Things you have to add to your Christmas Wishlist this year!”. Unfortunately, that’s just the reality of society. On Christmas this year, think about all the other Jews you’re interconnected with simply by your faith. As a small, close-knit community, we, as Jewish people, especially Jewish teens, need to stick together and watch out for each other. Being Jewish on Christmas can be tough, but know that you are surrounded by love from your Jewish siblings all around the world.

Aliza is a BBG from Los Angeles who loves playing volleyball.

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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