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What Do Jews Do on Christmas?
Christmas is not a Jewish holiday. Many Christians think of Christmas as an American holiday, a secular holiday or a cultural holiday, but most Jews today do not think of Christmas that way. According to the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, 82% of Jewish households never have a Christmas tree (and the idea of a "Chanukkah bush" is mostly a joke, not anything anybody takes seriously). A 2013 Pew survey found that less than a third of Jews have a Christmas tree, and most of those are intermarried. Even among those who are intermarried, only 71% had a Christmas tree, far less than the 92% of Americans who celebrate Christmas. A 2007 survey by InterfaithFamily.com found that only 37% of interfaith families that have decided to raise the children Jewish have a tree in the home.
Jews and Christmas
BY RABBI JOSHUA E. PLAUT on MyJewishLearning
What attitudes toward Christmas tell us about modern Jewish identity.
For the majority of Americans, December 25 is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but for Jews it is a time to consider ones relationship to the wider society. Some Jews have chosen to adopt the Yuletide festivities. Some have emphatically rejected the rituals and symbols of Christmas. Still others have sought ways to meld Christmas and Hanukkah.
What is Hanukkah?
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily.com
Hanukkah is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish recapture and rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. It’s celebrated for eight days and usually falls in December. The traditional observances of Hanukkah are lighting a menorah, or ceremonial candelabra, spinning a top called a dreidel and eating fried foods. Though it is religiously minor, Hanukkah is a popular holiday. It’s a happy festival in the winter, so it provides what seems to be a universally needed break from the dark and cold. It’s a holiday about Jews winning a war, which is not the usual subject for a Jewish holiday. The third reason is obvious: for Jews in Christian culture, Hanukkah is the closest Jewish holiday to Christmas.
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Beth El is getting a new playground! If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground." If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!
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@ 7:00 PM
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For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.
We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.
We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.
Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El. Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play! The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB. Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion! Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games). RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected] Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.
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Support During Shutdown
As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:
What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29
A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum
Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj
Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg
Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3
There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.