Chanukah Glitz? It’s Not Our Way

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When I worked in offices, I was often the only Jewish girl. Come holiday time, I used to help decorate the office’s Christmas tree as a goodwill gesture. Why should I offend my Christian co-workers when they simply did not understand what a Jewish person was expected to do or not to do.

In that regard, I was invited to bring in my menorah to the office as well. I always declined because to my way of thinking, Jews did not observe Chanukah in any over-the-top way, at least while I was growing up. I observed my holiday by lighting my menorah at home at night and giving presents and retelling the story and celebrating with other Jews. That was enough for me.

In attending Rabbinical lectures, I learned that Jews do not need a humongous menorah or dazzling Chanukah fixtures in order to celebrate our holiday. Yes, Chanukah palls with Christmas, but so what? We should not try to compete with Christmas trees and the glitz and glamour of the holiday decorations. It is for them, and not for us. We are happy and content with the
way we celebrate our own holidays. Or should be.

The subject of the article “Right to Light Denied” (Dec. 19), Kathy Abbott, takes offense at her neighborhood board’s rejection of her putting up a menorah near the community’s holiday lights-only tree. She lives in a community where there are rules and regulations drawn up by a board. This board has outlined what its requirements are. Abbott decided to live in an area that is more Christian than Jewish. If she is not happy with the board’s decision, she could move. They are not being anti-Semitic. The lighted tree is not a Christmas tree, unless a star of Bethlehem is placed on top.

What Abbott should consider is goodwill. What she is doing is presenting herself as an argumentative and not-so-nice Jewish person. The mere fact that she is Jewish, whatever she does and says is reflective of Jews. We must always present ourselves as people who show loving kindness and tolerance toward others.

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