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Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

Raidra November 28, 2013 User blog:Raidra

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First off, I’m okay.  I just haven’t been on the site for a little while.  Second, happy Thanksgiving and, to those who celebrate, happy Hanukkah!  I’m a gentile Christian, but I still celebrate Hanukkah because I think it’s a beautiful and meaningful holiday.  While we’re on the subject, I want to set something straight.  There are people who call Hanukkah “the Jewish Christmas” just because they both occur in the winter.  This is false and shows ignorance of both holidays. 

* Christmas is a primarily Christian holiday which commemorates the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, whom Christians hold to be the Messiah or Christ, the Savior that G-d promised to send into the world to lead people to Him (which is why we call Him “Jesus Christ”).  I’ve read that “Xmas” is a perfectly acceptable abbreviation of Christmas because the “X” represents Christ or a cross, just like how a “School X-ing” sign means “School Crossing”.  It should be noted that while Christmas is primarily a Christian holiday, there are many non-Christians who celebrate it because it’s a time of goodwill and cheer, exchanging presents, helping those less fortunate, and spending time with loved ones.  However, while there are Jewish holidays featuring goodwill, gift-giving, and the like, there is no Jewish equivalent of Christmas.  In fact, many Jews don’t believe in a Messiah, and for that matter, some people of Jewish heritage don’t believe in any deity period. 

* Hanukkah is a primarily Jewish holiday commemorating both G-d’s care and freedom from oppression.  As noted in the book Hanukkah, Festival of Lights by Jeff O’Hare, “A powerful ruler named King Antiochus IV held the Jews prisoner in their own land for three years.  Antiochus brought a huge army from Syria to destroy the Jewish religion and to force Jews to worship Greek gods.  He took over Jerusalem and ruined the Holy Temple.”  Judah Maccabee, his brothers, and the small army they gathered were able to defeat their oppressors.  Legend says that when they restored the damaged Temple, the one-day supply of oil miraculously lasted for eight days instead.  After the temple was rededicated, Judah Maccabee declared a holiday called Hanukkah, meaning “Rededication”.  This makes Hanukkah more similar to an Independence Day, such as America’s Fourth of July, France’s Bastille Day, or Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo (Fifth of May). 

I hope that clears up some misconceptions.  Calling Hanukkah “the Jewish Christmas” is inaccurate, being dismissive about it is disrespectful, and both are ignorant. Raidra (talk) 14:19, November 28, 2013 (UTC)

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