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December 20, 2006

Santa's Jewish. Who Knew?

I really got a kick out of this story in Wedneday's New York Times, especially since it is the middle of Hanukkah week. It's about an Orthodox Jewish family on the west side of L.A. (not far from where I grew up) who decorated the outside of their house with a full-on Christmas display, including a life-size Santa that bellows into a microphone, "What is this Hanukkah you speak of?"

A few of their neighbors, also Orthodox, are none too pleased.

But the mom, Mary Loomis-Shrier, heir to an exotic lingerie fortune, isn't too worried. She says that some of her Jewish neighbors don't mind, in fact their kids have dropped off toy lists into her mailbox. Besides, what's religious about candy canes and snow globes?

Her story is a new twist on the fabricated "War on Christmas".

I wasn't raised Orthodox but I still had to go to temple every Saturday. I attended Jewish summer camps, celebrated all the Jewish holidays and broke the Yom Kippur fast with the best of them. And every December, directly across the room from our beautifully illuminated Hanukkah menorah stood... our Christmas tree. We joked about our "Hanukkah bush" but let me tell you, the holiday season would not have been complete without it. Otherwise, my sister and I would have had nothing to dance around while the Mitch Miller Singers belted out their versions of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Gosh, I miss those days. And we weren't bad dancers either.

Posted by shoephone on December 20, 2006 at 12:07 AM in Miscellany | Permalink


I love it. Makes one realize that most of what we celebrate about Christmas is in fact not very religious by anyone's definition.

It reminds me of a story on NPR a few months back about an African-American man who decided to take back the confederate flag. He bought an old pick-up with a confederate flag decal. When the rather confused white guy he bought it from offered to scrub it off, he declined the offer. The new owner parked his regular car and drove the pickup around proudly, explaining to his surprised friends and young black men on the street that he was a proud Southerner and wanted to take that part of his background back. They could too.

It's not for everyone but really, it's all just a matter of what we invest these symbols with.

Posted by: Lynn | Dec 20, 2006 8:05:46 AM

Now if we could just get Christians to play the dreidl game, we'd really have something.

Posted by: shoephone | Dec 20, 2006 1:13:23 PM

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