Imagine if Christians, in a major online news source, started a discussion about Jewish symbols at Hanukah—and openly concluded that they “hated” it because it represented Jewish attempts to exterminate Christians.
It wouldn’t happen. It wouldn’t even enter Christian’s heads to even have such a discussion.
But this is exactly what Jewish Supremacists have done about Christmas and Christmas Trees in a lengthy article on the Examiner.com website.
The article, titled “Jews and Christmas Trees?” was filed under the section “Jewish Education and Identity.”
Starting off with the question “Do you think it is OKAY for people who are Jewish to have a Christmas tree in their home?”, the author, one Vikvi Polin, a professional counsellor from Skokie, IL, said she was “astounded by the whole array of emotionally filled responses I received from individuals from within every movement of Judaism.”
The responses included:
Susie Cohen of Skokie, IL said: “For centuries Jews have been displaced, raped, tortured and killed for holding onto their culture, religion and belief system. –– For that reason alone, I would never bring an x-mas tree into my home”.
[Others said that] “Their parents would haved drempt [sic—should be never have dreamed] of bring[ing] a Christmas tree into their homes because they didn’t want their children to loose [sic] sight of what it meant to be a Jew.”
Rabbi Asher Lopatin, who is the spiritual leader at Anshe Sholom Bnai Israel Congregationin Chicago, stated that “a Christmas tree is a Christian symbol and, to my understanding, brings a powerful Christian atmosphere to any home that has one. Any Jewish home contemplating having a Christmas tree should be honest about how powerful this symbol is and whether they want the Judaism in their home – which might be quite subtle at times – to be overpowered by such a strong Christian symbol.”
Rabbi Zev Shandalov, a Chicago native who now resides in Israel believes that “the Christmas tree is one of the most well-known representations of the celebration of the Christian holiday. By introducing that symbol into one’s JEWISH home, one is in fact taking another step towards assimilation. A Christian is free to practice his or her religion as seen fit. However, it must be realized that it is indeed THEIR religion and not ours. Bringing a Christmas tree into the home negates one’s Judaism and Jewish roots.
Additionally, our religion is so rich and full of beauty and wonders! The Menorah is such an awesome symbol–one of light in dark times, faith in G-d and brings families together in warmth and love. Why does one feel a sense of lacking in all that we have that he need bring in foreign symbols? Our religion lacks nothing.”
Rabbi Ze’ev Smason, who is the spiritual leader of Nusach Hari B’nai Zion (St. Louis, MO), shared his thoughts on the topic, stating that “any knowledgeable Christian would object to the suggestion that a Christmas tree has no Christian religious meaning, just as a knowledgeable Jew would object to the suggestion that the menorah or Star of David are secular symbols. However, we need go no further than to look at the word ‘Christmas’ of ‘Christmas tree’ to see the tree’s connection to Christian belief. Regarding the question, “Is it OK for Jews to have a Christmas tree in their home?”, the answer is an unequivocal “No.”
For me (Vicki Polin), I did not grow up with any formal Jewish education, nor were my parents or grandparents holocaust survivors. My parents would never allowed a Christmas tree in our home. When I was younger, my sisters and I would go over to a neighbors home to decorate their tree. I personally remember feeling out of place doing so. I remember my father explaining to us that Jews are not christian, nor do we celebrate christian holidays such as Christmas –– for that reason, we do not have a Christmas tree. My mother then went on and reminded us about the holocaust –– and how people hated us [Jews] because our belief system was different. My mother continued by reminding us of the number of innocent people, including Jews who perished in the holocaust –– and that in honor of their memory we do NOT practice another faith, nor bring icons or symbolism’s of the other faiths into our home.
Sara Atkins of Wynnewood, PA, believes that “people should actually learn about Hanukkah –– not the story they tell about the oil but the real story, but about the struggle and why we (Maccabees) fought and won. Maybe if people REALLY understood Hanukkah they wouldn’t be running so quickly to put up a tree. Or what the military victory, was really about. Hanukkah is celebrating the victory of yet another group trying to assimilate us –– and getting us to shed Judaism –– but it didn’t work, we fought and we won. Hanukkah is basically a big old celebration of stopping assimilation.”