When Halloween decorations come down, it's a sign that the Christmas season is approaching. What was once a twelve-day celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ has turned into two chaotic months all centered around the holiday. Growing up Jewish, a small part of me always felt left out of the festivities. While my friends were opening presents under a tree, for me, it was just like any other day.
There has been an effort made to be more inclusive of other winter holidays. Although that effort is appreciated, it has gone a little bit out of touch. Companies have transformed holidays into Christmas-like prototypes to include other religious groups. Many people call Hanukkah "Jewish Christmas," but the holidays are nothing alike, except that they fall in the same month.
When you search Hanukkah decorations on Google, the photo to the left is the first photo that shows up. A blue and silver wreath surrounded by Stars of David ornaments. Nearly every store sells products like these from November through December. These are the company's sad attempts to be inclusive. They could be selling relevant Hanukkah supplies like candles, hanukkiot, dreidels, or even oil! It doesn't make anyone feel included; it makes us feel like our holiday isn't enough compared to Christmas.
Decorations aren't the only example of the desperate attempt to be inclusive. Almost every high school has a holiday concert in December. At these concerts, you'll find traditional Christmas music, and of course, "I Have a Little Dreidel." The intentions are to be inclusive to Jewish kids, but they come off as lazy. It almost seems as if the concert would be better without the forced Hanukkah songs.
Hanukkah is not a jolly holiday like Christmas. Sure, it celebrates an ancient miracle, but it traditionally isn't a merry holiday. That's okay! We don't need Hanukkah bushes, Star of David ornaments, or blue and silver wreaths. Hanukkah is fine just the way it is. It’s not a major Jewish holiday. If anything, Rosh Hashanah is “Jewish Christmas.” Hanukkah is celebrated during the time of year by being with loved ones and celebrating being together. Winter can be solemn, but holidays like Hanukkah and Christmas can bring everyone together.
Sophie Glassman is a BBG from Kentucky Indiana Ohio Region and is currently the N'siah of her chapter, Ner Tamid.
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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