No guilt at Chanukah

No guilt at Chanukah

I was particularly fascinated by Gabe Kahn’s statement: “How can I deny my kids when virtually all of their friends, Jewish or not, are bragging about their massive haul?” in “Gift-giving isn’t a Chanukah tradition? Humbug” (Dec. 7). Poor reasoning because the answer is simple, logical, and easy for kids at any age to

We raised two kids of our own in a Jewish household with no guilt of any kind. We simply told them at Christmas, “It is a wonderful holiday, it celebrates a great teacher’s birthday, but it’s not your birthday so we don’t give or get any presents. Our party comes at Purim. Then you will receive and then you will give.” Our kids understood that perfectly well. They enjoyed their Judaism and we did not have to compromise our values for a bogus custom conjured up out of our own insecurity. 

I think we Jews demean ourselves when we “hone in” on someone else’s celebration. Christmas doesn’t belong to the Jews. We should wish the Christians well and any attempt by us to copycat them at this time of year with a minor, non-biblical event is insulting and wrong. It is not, as you said, “a necessary evil,” in fact, it is not necessary at all.

Arthur Schechner
West Orange 

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