The ex-Militant Jew

Back when I was a kid, I was a militant Jew. Really, I was—especially come December.

I grew up in a town, Mahopac, N.Y., where, oh, 90 percent of the residents were Catholic, and Christmas was the unofficial official town holiday. All students at Lakeview Elementary School were required to partake in the “holiday” concert—which really was eight-to-10 Christmas songs, many of which included references and odes to Jesus and Mary and the like. In the name of fairness, they’d usually toss in one for the Jewbies—”Chanukah, Chanukah, Festival of Lights” or something of that ilk.

Inevitably, I’d complain, bark, howl, ask out and demand equality. “There are two holidays!” I’d whine. “We deserve recognition, too.”

Of course, I was ignored.

Some three decades later, I look back and laugh. More than that, I cringe. What the hell was I so militant about? Why would any Jew want Christmas and Chanukah to be treated as equals?

Truth: Christmas is the birth of Jesus, Chanukah is the festival of lights. Enormous, enormous different in magnitude. Truth: Christmas has long been celebrated with gifts, Chanukah has sorta long been celebrated with gifts … because of its proximity to Christmas. Truth: Christmas is a greed-infested, commercialized pile of crap, damned by the XBox and PlayStation and need to have, have, have, have, have at all costs, until WE ALL DIE IN A FLAMING POOL OF DEATH AND WATCH THE SKIN MELT FROM OUR BONES AS SATAN LAUGHS ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK!!!!! (Deep breath). Truth: Chanukah is almost there, too.

It really is. Nowadays, when Jews fight for Chanukah equality I ask, “Why? Why would you want our cute little holiday to become … that?” At its base, the holiday is Christmas is a beautiful thing—the honoring of a savior who walked with the poor and the sinners and the infirmed; the honoring of a savior who had no material needs and who would, I’m guessing, cringe at the ornate lavishness of many modern buildings constructed (oddly) to honor him. But the base vanished long ago. Today, Christmas is the lining up at midnight outside a Walmart, then charging in at 12:01, trampling prone bodies en route. Today, Christmas is a commercial for Coca-Cola which, while warm and fuzzy on the surface (oh, Mommy, a polar bear drinking a soda alongside a snowman!), was actually produced last May in a gray-walled studio in Los Angeles by the marketing firm of Greed & Greedbag, Inc.). Today, Christmas is as Christian as a Ryan Braun homer to right; as a Malcolm X speech; as a pile of my dog’s excrement. It’s lost its meaning … its purpose … its soul.

So, my fellow Jews, stop whining about Chanukah not being Christmas.

Start celebrating.

5 thoughts on “The ex-Militant Jew”

  1. I have to disagree with you a bit here. I feel you are off when implying that Christianity is responsible for the ugly behavior displayed annually on Black Friday. In fact, I am willing to wager that there are people of all faiths that find themselves ready to pepper spray or trample their “competition” every year at Walmart during this time of year.

    The ugliness really has nothing to do with religious issues as much as it is a stark commentary on the state of our culture.

    I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Christmas may have lost its soul to some, but there are millions that still celebrate it for what it is, honoring the birth of our savior who walked with the poor, the sinners, and the infirmed.

  2. Christmas is just a marketing ploy to get people to buy things to make themselves feel better.

    The most important holiday for Christians is Easter. Sadly, fewer and fewer people who attend religious services get that. Most will say Christmas without blinking an eye. While the birth of Jesus is a lovely story, it means very little. What happened after his death is why there are followers of this man. Me, personally, I think all religion is just really well told fiction that is used to control people. But, I do not tell anyone else how or what to believe.

  3. Christ Mass is far superior to the stupid festival of lights that I have rebuked. Same with Babe Laufenberg,
    who you’ve excoriated many times. Remember that scene in incongruent bastards, where they sit the Nutzi down in the chair and take a baseball bat to his dome? Man, what I wouldn;t do to put you in that chair…you’re a disgrace to our people and are still a militant hater!

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