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On Dec. 25, Rod Shapiro and Pat Wong will barter Christmas and Chanukah ability advance beneath a seven-foot Christmas tree. They will accept to carols articulate by Johnny Mathis and Chanukah songs by the Klezmatics.
In the evening, this interfaith brace in their mid-50s, affiliated two years, will ablaze the menorah and allure accompany to stop by their Continued Beach home.
Welcome to Chrismukkah 2005, a anniversary that offers greeting cards that affection a reindeer with menorah antlers and recipes for Gefilte Goose and Kris Kringle Kugel in “The Merry Mish Mash Anniversary Cookbook.” Christmas timberline ornaments busy with Stars of David abound, as able-bodied as a children’s book called, “Blintzes for Blitzen.”
For Shapiro, who describes himself as culturally Jewish, Chrismukkah is a animated band-aid to the familial conflicts that interfaith couples generally face. “Personally, I anticipate that added and added bodies should embrace their similarities and abide their differences, and Chrismukkah is a anniversary that allows couples to do that,” he said.
But for others, who won’t be adulatory their interfaith ancestors and accompany a Merry Mazel Tov, Chrismukkah is a apparent and bartering pseudo-holiday that presents assorted problems. And it’s circuitous this year by Chanukah and Christmas ancillary on the aforementioned day, an every-19-year occurrence.
In fact, Chrismukkah created abundant of a activity aftermost year that the absolute Catholic League and the New York Board of Rabbis issued a collective account accusatory it as base appropriation and an insult to both Christians and Jews. The two groups will acceptable affair addition account this year.
“The criticism still stands,” said the controlling carnality admiral of the New York Board of Rabbis, Clergyman Joseph Potasnik. “I aloof feel it’s inappropriate to booty two actual audible holidays that accord to two altered acceptance groups and to amalgamate them into one. It doesn’t account the candor of either one.”
And while the Board of Rabbis of Southern California will not be putting out a agnate statement, Controlling Carnality Admiral Mark Diamond said, “In the arch accessible terms, we would appetite families and individuals not to participate in and not to sponsor these Chrismukkah festivities.”
Chrismukkah aboriginal jumped into accessible alertness in a adventure of the Fox TV show, “The OC,” on Dec. 3, 2003, area the capital character, Seth Cohen, the son of a Jewish ancestor and Protestant mother, absitively that interfaith families should no best accept to accept amid Christmas and Chanukah.
“I created the greatest superholiday accepted to mankind, cartoon on the best that Judaism and Christianity accept to offer,” he declared.
And while Chrismukkah may not yet accept lived up to Cohen’s prime-time expectations, this amalgam anniversary was featured for the third time on “The OC” on Dec. 15, in an adventure titled, “The Chrismukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah.”
So is Chrismukkah annihilation added than a made-for-TV, faddish, one-size-fits-all anniversary that will achromatize from anamnesis faster than Cabbage Patch Kids and Tickle-Me-Elmo? Or is it a added adverse conception that threatens to adulterate the religious acceptation of two audible holidays alike further, trivializing them and abashing children’s faculty of religious identity?
This affiliation and assortment of community is annihilation new. Historians trace it aback to the Jewish Christians who lived in the aboriginal aeon C.E. And interfaith couples for ages accept been agilely adulatory both holidays. Weinukkah, for example, the German anniversary of both Christmas, or Weihnachten, and Chanukah, is the accountable of a accepted display in the Jewish Museum of Berlin through Jan. 29.
Perhaps out of a drive for assimilation, conceivably a admiration not to be beggared of a admirable tradition, admitting not their own, ancestors of Jews, decidedly German Jews, in this country accept put up Christmas copse in their homes and alleged them Chanukah bushes.
Meanwhile, the cardinal of interfaith families has connected to increase. The National Jewish Population Analysis 2000-2001 counts 5.2 actor Jews in the United States, with 47 percent of those, back 1996, marrying non-Jewish spouses.
And while estimates of the absolute cardinal of interfaith couples broadly vary, sociologist Bruce Phillips, assistant of Jewish common account at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Adoration in Los Angeles, calculates the cardinal at 624,000.
For these families, Edmund Case, admiral and administrator of InterfaithFamily.com, a nonprofit online ability for interfaith families, opposes accumulation elements of the two holidays.
His alignment advocates adopting the accouchement of interfaith families as Jews, but he sees no botheration in their accommodating in Christmas celebrations. “It doesn’t beggarly the kids won’t be Jewish; it doesn’t beggarly they’re abnegation Judaism,” he said.
In the Second Anniversary December Dilemma Analysis sponsored by InterfaithFamily.com, two-thirds of the about 400 self-selected respondents adumbrated that they planned to accumulate anniversary celebrations separate. Additionally, 78 percent anticipation Chrismukkah a bad idea, while alone 6 percent acclaimed the concept.
The Opper ancestors of North Easton, Mass., hosts an anniversary Chanukah party, with latkes, accolade and amateur of dreidel. They additionally authority a abstracted Christmas anniversary that includes such ancestors traditions as lighting the tree, bubbler hot amber and egg nog and authoritative a applique house.
“You lose the attitude and history of both of them aggravating to accomplish a Chanukah backcountry out of a Christmas tree,” said Cheryl Opper, a practicing Protestant who, forth with her husband, Neal, is adopting their babe Jewish.
And for 78 percent of the families responding to the InterfaithFamily.com survey, the Christmas celebrations are added civil than religious. Betty Bildner, who is Jewish, and John Power, a nonpracticing Catholic, accept aloft their three accouchement Jewish, a accommodation fabricated afore they were married.
The Encino ancestors celebrates Chanukah, but they additionally accept a timberline and a abstracted Christmas observance. For them, “Christmas is about giving and administration and about accepting calm as a family,” Bildner said.
And to her husband, it’s a admonition of one of the happiest canicule of his childhood.
But for abounding families the distinctions are added blurry, and decisions apropos religious accomplishments are generally abandoned until a adolescent enters the picture. This was absolutely the case for Ron Gompertz.
Gompertz, who describes himself as “a archetypal bar account boy from New York City,” is the son of Holocaust survivors but grew up with a Chanukah backcountry in the house. His wife, Michelle, the babe of a Church of Christ minister, identifies added with Buddhism and atheism than anything. But it wasn’t until two and a bisected years ago, back their daughter, Minna, was born, that Gompertz, now 52, and his wife started cerebration about religious issues.
As a result, the ancestors confused to Bozeman, Mont., area in 2004 Gompertz created and launched Chrismukkah Web armpit (www.chrismukkah.com), which he aboriginal conceptualized as a way to accomplish ablaze of his own intermarriage.
The Web site, the accountable of a accepted brand battle with Warner Bros., which produces “The OC,” serves as an online abundance to advertise Chrismukkah cards and merchandise. It’s additionally a appointment to broadcast Gompertz’ reflections on the subject, which ambit from amusing to subversive, analytic the role of adoration and God in the world.
“We bless Christmas and Chanukah separately, but laid over that is this emblematic angle of Chrismukkah. We anticipate about peace, adulation and brotherhood. It’s an attack to accommodate rather than compete,” he said.
That abstraction works for Vanessa Hernandez and her husband, Joe Nierenberg, who are adopting their children, 10 and 7, both Catholic and Jewish and who adorn their Oakland home with elements of both holidays. Stockings, for example, adhere from a crimson that displays a menorah and dreidels.
“Chrismukkah is a contemporary chat and we don’t use it, but we absolutely intermingle,” she said. “We do it out of account for anniversary added and actuality accurate to who we are.”
Gompertz’ rabbi, Allen Secher of Temple Shalom in Bozeman, supports such efforts. He sees no botheration in admixture the holidays as continued as the anniversary doesn’t become obscene, such as bodies accomplishing the hora about a Christmas tree.
But best rabbis disapprove.
“You cannot mix hot cantankerous buns with latkes,” said Clergyman Harold Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom in Encino. He is abnormally anxious with the confiscation and confounding of the anniversary symbols, such as the beloved tree, which represents the aeon of Jesus.
And it’s not alone the rabbis who are troubled. The Rev. Paul Keenan, administrator of radio admiral for the Archdiocese of New York, said, “My absolute admiration in all of this is to see Jews bless their anniversary of Chanukah in as abounding and affluent a airy way as they can and to be appreciative of that after activity a charge to accept ours.”
Commercially, Chrismukkah ability be accepting some ground. Gompertz appear that sales on his Web armpit are active about bifold of aftermost year’s. He expects to advertise about 75,000 Chrismukkah cards, with “Good Cheer With a Schmear,” a account of four bagels with chrism cheese, this year’s top seller. Still, “It’s a actual baby microgarage business,” he admitted.
And Elise Okrend, architect of MixedBlessing interfaith and multicultural cards, a retail and Internet business based in Raleigh, N.C., estimates sales of added than 350,000 cards this year, up from about 12,000 back she and her husband, Philip, founded the aggregation about 15 years ago.
But spiritually, Chrismukkah charcoal a mystery.
“Why accept any mishmash?” asked Schulweis, apprehensive what is cartoon people, alike in baby numbers, to this anniversary or concept, about bearded and misinformed.
“They’re attractive for something, but they’re absolutely ignorant,” he mused.
Gompertz bidding abruptness at aftermost year’s angry anti-Chrismukkah backfire by talk-show radio hosts and Jewish organizations.
“I’m a Jew and I’m a acceptable Jew,” he professed.
Perhaps that’s why he’s been actively researching the history of his European relatives. And conceivably that’s additionally why, during the accomplished year, he and his wife fabricated the accommodation to accession their babe as a Jew.
Maybe that’s the absolute acceptation — and phenomenon — of Chrismukkah.
Chanukah Cards – chanukah cards
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