What should be the Jewish response to Christmas, whether it is part of our own family, on our block or just floating in the air -- how should the season be greeted?
One of the key lessons of the Hanukkah story is that if we are to create an enduring future, we must have the wherewithal to fashion sacred moments here and now that uplift our spirits and have the potential of becoming touchstones.
There are moments in all parents' lives when they just can't figure out what to get their children and leaning on a big name retailer to pull a rabbit from a hat for them only adds to the frustration despite the helpful lists these retailers strive to provide.
The ethical teachings of Jesus long and clearly have been understood to support the poor and struggling in the world over those with means -- who remain hard of heart.
Tonight is mid-stream Chanukah and Thanksgiving is behind us. In the end, I'm not sure the confluence of the two birthed any physical or spiritual properties for my family or me.
Both traditions use prayer, gathering of family, and special foods to celebrate the miraculous providence of God to sustain a struggling community in a context of colonial oppression. Reflecting on how they differ may also help us overcome the ugly connotations of Thanksgiving.
You see, for the past few years during Chanukah we have strapped a large menorah to the top of our van. Depending on where you live, you may have seen this. But for the general public of Philadelphia, this definitely draws attention.
As a ferociously reluctant Yeshiva boy in the 1970s, I thought Hanukkah was without a doubt the most joyous time of the year.
The testimony of the Jewish people throughout their scriptures and history and in this season of Hanukkah reminds me, just as God told Moses in the wilderness, to stop crying and start moving forward in spite of moments of doubt, trusting in the continued light of God's presence.
I don't know what the artist had in mind when crafting this piece by hand. I don't think that anyone will ever know.
Last year, our Jewish family started celebrating Christmas. We planted our feet in the sweet spot where traditions are made, and explanations are limited.
The level of holiday gifting common in today's Jewish community discourages gratitude; it encourages us to focus on all the things we do not have instead of appreciating the things -- and the people -- we do.
It may be politically correct to say "Happy Holidays," but it is historically, culturally, and religiously incorrect!
As a sleep researcher and clinician, I am keenly aware that the holiday season is a time when people try to do too much. So I've developed a few tricks to help manage the episodic bouts of insomnia that are common during the holidays. Following these rules can help you sleep better, brighten your holiday mood and maybe even keep your weight under control.
Today we aren't working. I plan to relax after I make the stuffing, mash potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, get the turkey in the oven, and clean the house. Maybe I should have worked today.
For those who celebrate Chanukah we're already knee high into the gifts. For those who celebrate Christmas though, you fortunately have a few weeks left, indeed, Black Friday (sounds way cooler than it is) has arrived.