War Against Christmas 2009: A Jewish Perspective

[3] [4]
[5] – See also: War Against Christmas











Peggy Epstein with friend

I live in a very quaint downtown
area where

colonial era
townhouses line the street.

Last weekend`s blizzard
transformed it into a

winter wonderland,
with the normally busy street
empty enough for my neighbors to walk or cross-country
ski to the few restaurants, bars, and movie theatre that
were still open.

With the
corporate chains and the city government and shut
down, one would think that the

War on Christmas
would take a snow day. But, sadly,

neighbors kept waging it.

As I walked
Peggy, my four month-old puppy, down through the snow,
she spotted another dog with a few college students. As
they sniffed each other, we exchanged the usual
pleasantries about the breed and age of our dogs.

As we
parted, one of the students wished me a Merry Christmas.
Before I could respond, one his friends quickly chided
“Don`t say
, say

Happy Holidays

Not eager to
get in a political argument, I said
“Merry Christmas
is fine”
and began to walk away. Then the

scolded his friend: “What
if he wasn`t Christian, you would have


At this
point, I could not help but turn around and briefly
explain that I was Jewish,

but that I was not offended
by someone

wishing me Merry Christmas.

He asked
why. I replied this is still a majority Christian nation
and I respect that. Without missing a beat, he corrected
me: “America is
not a

Christian nation
, it`s a diverse nation!”

With the
snow still floating down, I was not willing to suffer
frostbite to deprogram him. So I parted by asking:
“If you think

diversity is so great,
why does it make you

censor yourself from
uttering the most harmless


My Scrooge
neighbor was most likely an emasculated

But many of my fellow Jews certainly do
help wage the
Against Christmas

When I was a
freshman in high school a dozen years ago, my Hebrew
confirmation class went to a larger day-long seminar of
sorts with several other confirmation classes from
reform and conservative synagogues.

One exercise
put on by another congregation had a Jewish girl wearing
a blonde wig and fake southern accent play an
unenlightened high school choir director trying to make
her students sing

Silent Night
. She kept insisting that only these
songs were truly holy enough. My fellow students were
given tips on how to complain that this was a violation
of the First Amendment. We then taught her
Hanukkah songs

Although I
had not become politically aware at that time, I
distinctly remember being disgusted by the whole

Back then,
the idea of attacking

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
had not been
developed—which shows just how far the Scrooges have
advanced in the War Against Christmas.

American Jewish antipathy towards Christmas is a
relatively new phenomenon. As Steve Sailer

has pointed out
, Jews wrote

many of the most celebrated Christmas songs
, such as
Silver Bells,

White Christmas
, and

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Similarly, the elevation of

as a major Jewish holiday is an equally
recent phenomenon. My grandmother told me that the idea
of celebrating Hanukkah was completely absent from the
Jewish community during the 1940s and 1950s. She gave
presents to my father at Christmas in part because
didn`t want him to believe that Santa Claus was

My guess is
that the original elevation of Hanukkah was a ploy to
get the increasingly affluent Jewish population to
purchase gifts, rather than an attempt to undermine the
importance of Christmas. But demanding that this minor
holiday now be treated as equal to Christmas clearly is
such an attempt.

I believe
that Jews should celebrate and contribute to the secular
aspects of Christmas, and not interfere with Christian
celebration of its religious parts. 

And this is
not because of our supposedly joint Judeo-Christian
heritage is under attack from
I once heard a prominent

argue that Jews, as well as Muslims and
Hindus, needed to unite against these
who were collectively engaged in a war against
Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Diwali. But of course
the elevation of the latter three is a major part of the
War On Christmas and America`s Christian identity—not on
a generic “people of faith”.

At an
Indiana public school`s
“Holiday Show”,
second grade students were

to sing “Allah is
, though no other religions were mentioned.
Fortunately, nationwide protest removed the offending
line. But it did not turn it back into a Christmas show.

When Rep. Steve King introduced a resolution to
recognize the importance of Christmas, nine Democratic
Representatives actually

voted against it
. (The nine:

Woolsey, Lynn [D]

Lee, Barbara [D]

Stark, Fortney [D]

DeGette, Diana [D]

Hastings, Alcee [D]

Ackerman, Gary [D]

Clarke, Yvette [D]

Scott, Robert [D]

McDermott, James [D]

resolutions to recognize the importance of Ramadan and
Diwali were

unanimously passed.

Jews should
not defend Christmas because Hanukkah and Judaism will
be the next target of 

but because America`s secular and
shared national identity was strongly influenced by its

—heritage. This heritage created a culture
that Americans of all faiths can and have benefit from
and take part in.

What about
the religious aspects of Christmas? While I have no
desire to attend

Christmas Mass,
I recognize the secular aspects of
Christmas that I enjoy are dependent upon the spiritual
origins of Christmas. I can enjoy listening to religious
Christmas songs
Silent Night

to the World
just as I can appreciate

Ode to Joy

Da Vinci`s Last Supper
without worrying that a

is on its way.

more importantly, I do not believe that a small minority
of the population should feel entitled to completely
undermine the institutions of the majority because it
somehow doesn`t feel

This is the
same argument that is used against other beloved symbols
of America, beginning with the

Confederate Flag
and continuing on to



The War
against Christmas is just one front in the War against
America and

against the West
—which Jews have a vital interest in

Marcus Epstein [send
him mail
] writes from Alexandria, VA.