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6 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 11:43AM #1
SweetSerendipity
Posts: 28
I just wanted to share this idea for any Jewish parents out there like me, who struggle with living in a VERY predominantly Christian area, whose children experience some envy and resentment this time of year. I got this idea for a Hanukkah window decoration that was done in the common room of a kibbutz, and did these windows on my house. I think it's an excellent way to be festive and Jewish without resorting to decorations that emulate Christmas traditions. My children have been very pleased with how this came out and no longer feel excluded from the neighborhood even though we do not have a tree/holiday lights/etc.

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6 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 4:56PM #2
rocketjsquirell
Posts: 16,775
If it makes your kids happy, I'm happy. I don't think it is necessary to make a big thing out of Chanukah but then again I'm an old crotchety curmudgeon. Have a happy!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 01, 2008 - 6:41PM #3
lauramushkat
Posts: 625
especially if both parrents are of the same mind and especially the same faith.  It is the mixed marriages where the children are not being brought up in one faith household that this is a problem.  My daughter married a man who is Christian by birth and does not believe in religon anyway so that the children and the household is Jewish,

What the kids are in faith has a lot to do with how you keep your home.  If the kids are Jewish the household is Jewish even if one parrent is not until the children no longer live at home.  That is how I see it.  Things like this
need to be discussed before marriage and agreed on.

If daddy or mommy is a Christian and their are no relatives to share THEIR Christmass with you might do as a pal I know did and have a Christmass tree for Daddy in a special place of honor but the house is decorated for Channukah.

I am one of those weird people who believes that a fight for independence to believe in your own faith is a very important time to celebrate and was always mad that it was not really up there with more important holidays.

Most people just copy the goyium anyway when making a big deal of the day with many presents simply because it is near Christmass and I would have liked it to be made a big deal of anyway because of what it celebrates but I must be in the minority.  In fact I would like the decorations for all the holidays that we like to be deorated pretty much the same so it is holiday decorations used all year round not just in the winter!

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Laura
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2008 - 7:35PM #4
SweetSerendipity
Posts: 28
We do stuff all year. We just had a huge Sukkah in October, we do Shabbat every Friday, host a full Pesach seder, etc. However, I live in Alabama; there is minimal Jewish community here, and we have no family anywhere remotely nearby. I am also not married to a Jew (he's not practicing any other religion, so our home is exclusively Jewish.) Our shul is so small we can't even support a rabbi. I can understand why my daughter feels a bit isolated. We get together with friends when we can, but even then many of them "do Christmas" as well as a secular thing, and we don't, which complicates matters to a 6 yr old.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 02, 2008 - 7:35PM #5
SweetSerendipity
Posts: 28
We do stuff all year. We just had a huge Sukkah in October, we do Shabbat every Friday, host a full Pesach seder, etc. However, I live in Alabama; there is minimal Jewish community here, and we have no family anywhere remotely nearby. I am also not married to a Jew (he's not practicing any other religion, so our home is exclusively Jewish.) Our shul is so small we can't even support a rabbi. I can understand why my daughter feels a bit isolated. We get together with friends when we can, but even then many of them "do Christmas" as well as a secular thing, and we don't, which complicates matters to a 6 yr old.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2008 - 6:29AM #6
NahumS
Posts: 1,789
Your decorations are really very nice!
Living in Israel, we don't do the Hannukah decoration business at home, since everyone lights his own Hannukiah/menorah in the window or near the front door. That sort of takes over the house since there are a good number of us. But schools and other places where kids gather are often decorated - and your decorations are some of the nicest that I've seen.
It's a challenge to maintain a Jewish identity in a non-Jewish environment and it certainly sounds like you folks are working hard at it! Actually, that's what Hannukah is really all about- a small band of Jews maintaining their unique identity in the face of a mighty pagan empire and culture. You're heroes!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 22, 2008 - 12:10AM #7
lauramushkat
Posts: 625
Each person must be careful not to just imitate the Christians arround this time of year.

If you make a big thing of decorating for Channukah you should for the High Holy Days, Passover, Purim, etc.

Or do nothing special at all.  Our houses look different because we are different!
Hugs
Laura
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 24, 2008 - 9:54AM #8
c9283627
Posts: 23
Each year at this time we face the December dilemma where my Jewish husband demands a tree like a two-year-old, because he always had one growing up.  After 38 years I have accepted that it will be a yearly fight.  We never had a tree in our house, but  It didn't help that we never could afford to participate in any temple activities.  Our kids were excluded from friendships because the temple was the sole source of Jewish relationships.  We were the only Jews for miles and our small home was modest.  Even so, temple social activities were more than we could afford.  It was all I could do to squeeze (reduced) dues and (full) school fees out of our budget.  My husband resented what he termed purposeless and eventually refused to go to services at all.

I made a fuss over all the Jewish holidays with our kids, but it never "took".  My son denied  his Jewishness after Bar Mitzvah and for years would not even visit if I it was a holiday or Shabbat.  At 36 he says he's not Jewish.  My daughter bought into the whole Christmas thing.  She had a child with a man who now wants to take their son to church on visiting days. Thus far she has refused, but she will do nothing to counter it.  She married a man who calls himself Jewish but who will not have anything in their house that smacks of  religion. They do have a tree, which they say is non-sectarian, and they make a big deal of Christmas every year.  While she insists our 4-year-old grandson is Jewish by virtue of her being so, she avoids anything to do with any of it.  He lives with me most of the time, as she must work long hours, so I have taught him to light candles and say the prayers.  Sunday night he lit the menorah and said the prayers by himself.  My daughter snorted in derision when she found out, and said no when he asked to light the menorah at her house.  Already he is sensing something, so he asks to light Shabbat candles early, before his mother picks him up Friday evenings.  How long before she and her husband quash his enthusiasm altogether?   I spoke to our (new young) Rabbi about it, asking if it was okay to light candles before it was dark, and he said, grinning, that he thought it better to start Shabbat early than not at all. So I told my grand he can light the candles and say the prayers here, which elicited a happy smile.  All the same, I feel it's a losing battle.

Curiously, although my husband still avoids Jewish ritual, when our grand asked him to watch and said the prayers all by himself, he made a big deal of praising his accomplishment and said, "Maybe we'll carry on another generation after all."  Go figure.

Gavriella
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